Ferdinand’s England withdrawal leaves Hodgson with defensive worry

Roy Hodgson is facing a defensive crisis ahead of the World Cup qualification double-header against San Marino and Montenegro after Rio Ferdinand withdrew from the England squad, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Ferdinand was called up for the first time since Hodgson became manager in May 2012 but pulled out of the travelling party, citing a need to maintain the fitness regime laid down by his club, Manchester United.

Hodgson had already lost Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson after the weekend’s football, calling up Joleon Lescott, the out-of-favour Manchester City defender, as a replacement, with Spurs’ Steven Caulker drafted into the squad to take the place of Ferdinand. Caulker had been part of the England Under-21 squad.

Chelsea’s Gary Cahill reported for England duty with a knee injury suffered during the Blues’ 2-0 win over West Ham on Sunday, while Hodgson was already without the Everton defender, Phil Jagielka, who is recovering from surgery on a badly gashed ankle.

Hodgson did however meet with Ferdinand, and said: “I was pleased that Rio called and asked to meet with me. It was important to hear from him personally about the way he must manage his body between games.

This is not to say he cannot play back-to-back games – he can and has proven so. He’s out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his programme.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on San Marino v England

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