Roy Hodgson has reportedly told football fans that Rio Ferdinand's days as an England player are over.
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Ferdinand missed out on selection for Euro 2012 due to "football reasons", and appears certain to be overlooked for upcoming Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. Reports claim Hodgson opened up on the issue while heading to Arsenal's Champions League clash against Olympiacos on Wednesday evening.
"I very much doubt [Ferdinand will play for England again]. He hasn't played for England for quite a while," Hodgson is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.
"I have to say it is over for him and England. It has got to be the end of the road. He is pushing 34 and hasn't played for England for a long, long time."
Hodgson is facing a major PR disaster over the comments, particularly after a void was created in the England squad following the sudden retirement of John Terry last week.
Hodgson travelled to Arsenal's Champions League clash with Olympiacos on Wednesday night using London's tube system and is reported to have entered into conversations with members of the public over Ferdinand's future, just a few days before he names his squad for the World Cup qualifiers.
Manchester City's Joleon Lescott, Everton's Phil Jagielka and Chelsea's Gary Cahill look certain to fill three of the central defensive berths in the next England squad, with two of those three likely to start the must-win qualifiers.
A fourth centre-back will also be named by Hodgson, with Stoke's Ryan Shawcross and Hamburg's Michael Mancienne believed to be in the frame as he continues to ignore the merits of the veteran Ferdinand.