Chipping In with Darren Foreman: Rio’s England withdrawal suspicious

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The big talking point this week has been the inclusion then non appearance of Rio Ferdinand in the England squad.

His withdrawal for specialist medical treatment and then his subsequent appearance in Qatar as an analyst for the San Marino game for me was a kick in the face for Roy Hodgson who had stuck out his neck to include Ferdinand in the first place. I have no doubt had Man Utd had a game either on the Friday or Tuesday he would of played in the most important game which of course that would of been the game against Montenegro.

It’s another case of club before country a fact that will not sit well with supporters across England, who vented their anger during the one sided match on Friday night.

Although Ferdinand is without question not the player he was in his pomp he would add experience to the centre of the defence which will be occupied by two players in Smalling and Lescott, who can’t even claim to be regulars for City or United.

The atmosphere in the ramshackle Podgorica Stadium will be intense and England will not doubt come under pressure at some stage in the game and the two central defenders will have their work cut out dealing with Fiorentina’s Jovetic and Vucinic of Juventus.

I have heard a few opinions during the week about Callum McManaman’s horrific tackle last Saturday and there is not getting away from the fact that it was a straight red and that if not seen should of been dealt with retrospectively by the FA.

It was a career-threatening challenge and I must disagree with Rudy Funk that McManaman should be treated with kids gloves because of his age and inexperience. There is no place in the modern game for knee-high tackles regardless of who you are.

Although referee Halsey was unsighted by a player, the linesman had a perfect view to help the referee and give out the punishment the tackle deserved.

The one thing we can hope is that the young man learns from it because he looks a decent player with a bright future.

Congratulations to Wales, who turned out to be worthy winners of the championship after their comprehensive defeat of England in the winner-takes-all game in Cardiff.

Their front five outmuscled England at the set-pieces and the breakdown and a more worrying thing was the English endeavour hid a distinct lack of creativity in the three-quarters and midfield, which has accumulated with only one try in the last four matches.

That said, Stuart Lancaster’s men have made big strides, but their lack of big match experience counted against them and Wales, apart from the first half against Ireland, showed they were the best team in the competition.

With the masters round the corner, Luke Donald crashed out of the Malaysian open, missing the cut for the first time in his career on the European tour - which in its self is a proud record to have.

With Rory McIlroy’s early season form being poor, a certain Tiger Woods may be ready to extend his record at Augusta with a few of his rivals seemingly slow out of the blocks.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I’ve seen it a million times, a club will blatantly lie to their fans to take the moral high ground leaving the player with no leg to stand on.” Michael Owen on Newcastle United.

Michael Owen hits out at Newcastle following his retirement from the game at the end of the season.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:

Has to be Wales’ rugby union team, who won the RBS 6 Nations championship convincingly while denying England the Grand Slam.