Updated: Wednesday, 19th June 2019 @ 12:38pm

England captain Steven Gerrard says fans are entitled to boo Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand

England captain Steven Gerrard says fans are entitled to boo Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand

By Alex Bysouth

Steven Gerrard sympathises with the Three Lions boo-boys who targeted absent Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand during England’s mauling of San Marino on Friday.

Ferdinand pulled out of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup Qualifying set-up for fixtures against San Marino and Montenegro to pursue a pre-planned training and medical programme in Qatar.

The veteran centre-half was subject to boos and chants from the travelling fans, but England captain Gerrard believes they have a right to voice their opinion.

“I think the fans have shown their frustration about Rio not being here,” the Liverpool stalwart told several national newspapers.

“They’re entitled to their opinion, they pay good money to come over here. We all wanted Rio here because he’s a good player and he certainly would have helped us over these two games.

“But he’s made his decision and we need to respect that.”

Ferdinand –not selected by Hodgson for Euro 2012 – instead appeared on Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Three Lions demolition job from Doha.

“I think obviously the situation with myself and the national team is well documented,” he told viewers.

“I spoke to the manager and I think it's down to him. I met the boss in London and we spoke about my regime and what I’ve done at the last few international breaks.

“This is the same. I’ve been penciled in to have certain treatments, had them then I’ve come away to have some rest time and to recuperate and get myself ready.”

The 34-year-old received no sympathy from the 3,000 England fans in Serravalle, who believed he should have added to his 81 caps, but Ferdinand stood by his decision to withdraw.

“This isn’t something that I’m doing differently,” he added. “This is something I’ve done in past international get-togethers when I’ve not been involved. 

“I’ll continue to do what I’m doing. I know what I’m doing is the right thing.

“I’ve had a course of treatment that I’ve had to have and then to go and rest and get ready and recuperate and that’s what I’ve continued to do. 

“But this is the way the media is. You’re going to have people say things and assume a lot of things when they don’t really know too much of the detail behind what’s going on.”

Picture courtesy of football.ua, via WikiCommons, with thanks.

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