Soccer: Hodgson sorry for gaffe over Ferdinand's future

England soccer manager Roy Hodgson has publicly apologised to Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand after a private conversation about the demise of the defender's international career was published in an English newspaper.

Hodgson is alleged to have told fellow passengers on a London Tube train en route to the Emirates Stadium for Arsenal's Champions League game midweek that he would not select Ferdinand again. His words soon made it on to the back pages.

Hodgson did leave Ferdinand out of his squad, for World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, but admits he owes an apology to the experienced centre-back, who has won 81 caps for England.

"I have tried to speak to Rio and I am very disappointed that the story has come out like that and I apologise to him because there is no way I would ever indicate I wasn't going to use a player in that way," he said.

"I didn't choose him in the squad this time and it is for the same reasons as before, we have other players. But certainly I am not suggesting it is the end of the line."

- AAP

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