Neville: Rio return would divide England

Manchester United legend Gary Neville does not believe Rio Ferdinand will return to the England set-up despite John Terry's retirement.

Football news: Rio Ferdinand, John Terry.

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Although Ferdinand and Terry played alongside each other in the heart of the England defence for several years, the pair fell out over allegations of racial abuse used by Terry on Ferdinand's brother Anton. Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson then chose not to select the Manchester United player for his Euro 2012 squad, prompting speculation that Ferdinand had been frozen out of the England set-up as a result of his souring relationship with Terry.

Following the FA's decision to investigate the racial allegations against Terry, the Chelsea captain chose to retire from international football prior to the organization's verdict, opening the door for a possible return by Ferdinand. The Red Devils defender has remained silent over the issue, despite club manager Sir Alex Ferguson discouraging him from making himself available for selection.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville expressed his confidence that Ferdinand would not be donning an England shirt any time soon.

"Roy Hodgson has never said that Rio will no longer play for England. Rio Ferdinand has never said he won’t play for England again. But how many games has Rio Ferdinand played for Fabio Capello in the last 18 months? Three," he stated.

"He has not been playing regularly for England for the past two years. Roy Hodgson is looking to 2014 and I don’t see a big issue with this."

The former right-back warned that a turnaround by Hodgson could be detrimental for the Three Lions.

"He is a class defender [but] Roy Hodgson has said many times that he won’t pick 34 or 35 year olds with 70 or 80 caps just so they can sit in the stands. It will be divisive in the squad, divisive in the dressing room," Neville cautioned.

"If he gets picked then it will be with him having to be one of the first names on the team sheet. He hasn't played regularly for the past 20 months, it’s not just a Roy Hodgson thing."



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