Roy Hodgson has revealed that he couldn’t include both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand for his England squad at Euro 2012 due to allegations that the Chelsea legend racially abused his international team-mate’s younger brother Anton.
Ferdinand and Terry were widely perceived as England’s best two centre-backs at the time, though then England manager Hodgson was handed a difficult decision due to ‘non-footballing reasons’.
Terry was accused of using racist language towards Rio’s younger brother during a match between Chelsea and QPR at Loftus Road in October 2011.
The Chelsea star, who was then captaining England, was handed a four-game ban and a £220,000 fine from the Football Association, however he was cleared in court after being charged over the incident – while he has always denied abusing Anton Ferdinand.
On the day that current England manager Gareth Southgate announced his World Cup squad for Qatar, Hodgson has re-lived his difficult decision while speaking to Sky Sports.
Hodgson opted to include Terry in his squad for the tournament co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, and he partnered Joleon Lescott in the centre of defence while Rio Ferdinand stayed at home.
He said: ‘Obviously, the furore which came about as a result of the Anton Ferdinand and John Terry situation was a massive topic at the time and a very controversial one.
Roy Hodgson has revealed that he couldn’t pick both Rio Ferdinand and John Terry for his England squad at Euro 2012 – as he ended up choosing the latter for the tournament
Terry had been accused of racially abusing Rio’s younger brother Anton earlier in the season in which he was cleared by court but received a four-game ban and a fine by the FA
‘I’m not so certain, having got to know Rio a little bit in a conversation I had with him a little bit later on that he and John couldn’t have got along.
‘But they did split not only the public opinion over which one was the better player, but they split the mass media as well.
‘One had a powerful backing from one group of newspapers, and the other had powerful backing from the other. There was a fear that the animosity – if nothing else between the two newspapers and two factions – could cause us problems.
‘I couldn’t go out at the time – and I think people now understand this – and say I can’t take both of them because of what’s going on [with the case] and therefore had to choose one. But I did have to choose one, basically, and then I had to stand by that decision.’
Hodgson also revealed that David Bernstein (then FA chairman) and Trevor Brooking (director of football development) ‘made it clear’ to the former England manager that it wouldn’t work having both Terry and Ferdinand in the squad.
Hodgson said there was a divide among fans and newspapers over who he should choose
He also spoke of the difficulty in managing a split dressing room, revealing there were factions led by current Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone and Brazilian legend Ronaldo, when he coached Inter Milan in 1999.
Hodgson only became manager of England months before the start of Euro 2012, after previous manager Fabio Capello resigned after challenging the FA’s decision to strip Terry of the captaincy in February of that year due to the racism scandal.
Terry retired from international duty in November 2012 – months after the Euros – due to the FA charged him with using racist language despite being cleared in court.
In an interview with the Times in 2021, Terry said he had reached out to both Anton and Rio Ferdinand and when asked whether he was racist, he replied: ‘No, I’m not – racism is unacceptable.’
Rio called Terry an ‘idiot’ in his autobiography over the incident involving brother Anton (pictured)
Rio, labelled his former international team-mate an ‘idiot’ in his 2014 autobiography, while the pair were involved in a Twitter spat earlier this year after the Manchester United legend ranked Terry fifth in his all-time Premier League centre-back rankings.
Terry, who helped to inspire Chelsea to five Premier League titles, responded with an Instagram post that listed some of his career highlights and most impressive statistics alongside the words ‘stats don’t lie’.
Ferdinand replied by saying that Terry was ‘lucky’ to make the list at all following the accusation that he racially abused his brother.
The pair were involved in a spat earlier this year after Ferdinand only placed Terry number five in his personal ranking’s of the Premier League’s greatest ever centre-backs
‘The moment one has to start pushing their own records and stats it’s really time to start addressing the fragile ego,’ wrote Ferdinand. ‘You’re lucky I even put you in the top 5 after the racism case with my brother so be thankful you made it.’
Terry, who has always denied racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, then fired back: ‘A fragile Ego is putting yourself at Number 1. Thanks for putting me in your top 5.’
This, in turn, prompted a fan to point out that Terry had not addressed Ferdinand’s mention of the racism case. Terry, though, did soon bit back with the reply: ‘Stats don’t lie ‘NOT GUILTY’ Addressed it now what?’ followed by a clown emoji.’