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Hodgson's Piccadilly Line mishap

England manager Roy Hodgson might think twice before he next reaches for his Oyster card. Travelling on the Underground to see Arsenal’s Champions League match, Hodgson let slip to fellow passengers that Rio Ferdinand would not be included in his England squad. An embarrassed Hodgson had to apologise to Ferdinand for the indiscretion.

"I'm very disappointed that my travelling on the Tube train and suggesting Rio's career is over to a passing punter has been recorded as it has," Hodgson said. "All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy asked: 'Is Rio in the next squad?' and I think I might have said: 'I don't think so.' But it's a mistake and I need to apologise for that. I've paid for it. I'll try and contact Rio because he deserves an apology from me."

Hodgson’s gaffe will be baffling to the modern breed of manager who travels everywhere in a luxury car and would never dream of chatting openly to fans, but his comments are consistent with his views that Ferdinand’s form has not been impressive enough to warrant a recall to the national team.

"I respect the man and I respect the player, but I am looking forward," Hodgson said. "Rio didn't feature in my plans for the European Championship in the summer. Since then the players I've used have done well for me, and I'm sticking with those players."

Hodgson’s assistant Gary Neville suggested that senior players who are not involved in the first-choice team can create a divisive atmosphere in the squad, and this may be a view shared by the England manager.

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