The saga of Rio Ferdinand’s England career rumbled on this week as the Manchester United defender rejected Roy Hodgson’s call-up for international duty against San Marino and Montenegro.
After being frozen out of last year’s Euro 2012 squad, the 34-year-old was a shock inclusion in the Three Lions’ latest team.
However, according to Ferdinand, his ‘pre-planned and intricate’ training programme at United prevented him from joining up with the team once more.
He also received criticism from some quarters after the revelations that he is flying to Qatar during the international break and will appear as a pundit on Al Jazeera.
Therefore, MM took to the streets of Manchester to canvas opinion to find out whether he was right to reject Roy – and was met with very differing responses.
Dennis Casey, a 55-year-old IT consultant from Altrincham, said: “He claimed he was so desperate to get back into the England team and now doesn’t join up with the squad.
“Instead he swans off to Qatar? Shows his character.”
Kevin Appleton, 24, unemployed, from Salford, agreed: “Personally I think it’s a disgrace. People talk about there being no pride for England anymore and players like him are exactly why.”
Jamie Walker, a 19-year old Manchester student, said: “Rio is in the twilight of his career and he should not be passing up opportunities like this.”
But 34-year-old Pravin Singh, a store manager from Oldham, has sympathy with Ferdinand: “It’s a shame as at the moment he is the best defender England have but I understand his reasons.
“And people say he should not be going abroad now but playing football is obviously far more harmful for fitness than flying.”
Others claimed Hodgson abandoned Ferdinand when the defender needed him most.
“You can’t blame him too much,” said Rachel Small, 32, an office worker from Stockport.
“He has been left out recently and clearly feels he owes United more as they have been there for him when he counts.”
And 19-year-old student Femi Godwin, stated: “It’s United all the way. England have messed him about and Sir Alex knows what he’s doing so everyone dissing him should back down.”
Phil Martin, a 28-year-old construction worker from Ardwick, backed them up: “I think it’s fair enough. Where was Hodgson when he backed John Terry over Rio?”
But Manchester City fan Mark Fenton, 48, an accountant from Didsbury, said: “I’ll admit he has been great this year – that’s why we needed him for the Montenegro match.
“He knows that but he didn’t care, so England should move on from him for good.”
Jim Masters, a 48-year-old store owner from Rochdale, said: “I thought we were planning for the future? It’s a blessing in disguise – give the youngsters a chance.”
However, 67-year-old retiree Joan Fields, from Glossop, thinks it’s Rio’s choice to make: “I don’t know much about football – they all get paid far too much.
“But I’ve always been a great believer in letting people do what they feel is right.”
What are your thoughts on Rio’s rejection? Tell us below.