Euro 2012: Sven-Göran Eriksson backs England’s Roy Hodgson

Sven Goran-Eriksson backs Roy Hodgson after the England manager's decision to omit Rio Ferdinand from his Euro 2012 squad

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Roy Hodgson began his England career with a 1-0 victory over Norway PA Photos

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Sven-Göran Eriksson has defended Roy Hodgson amid mounting criticism aimed at the England manager for omitting Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand from his Euro 2012 squad.

The 63-year-old left out Ferdinand from his original squad, citing “footballing reasons” behind his decision, but Gary Cahill’s injury in the 1-0 victory over Belgium appeared to open the door for the centre-half.

But former Liverpool boss Hodgson instead drafted in inexperienced right-back Martin Kelly, which prompted a response from Ferdinand on Twitter.

However, Eriksson has backed Hodgson’s decision and insists Fabio Capello’s successor will not be hampered by the negativity surrounding his selection.

“Choosing Kelly seems to have caught him in the crossfire,” Eriksson said. “Having selected six Liverpool players, Roy is the target of a smear campaign.

“I know Roy will face it without losing his composure.”

“First of all, they’re all good footballers. But secondly, Roy has rock-solid knowledge when it comes to the players’ current form.

“Personally, I just find the whole thing to be quite silly.”

Eriksson, who was in charge of England from 2001 until 2006, understands Ferdinand’s frustration at missing out on the European championship but insists Hodgson’s choice must be respected.

“I do understand Rio’s disappointment,” Eriksson said. “He was an incredibly important player for me in three tournaments, but we mustn’t forget the injuries he has suffered this season.

“Roy has his reasons, otherwise he would not have rejected Rio – twice.

“It has been an entirely football-based decision. That’s all there is to it. Remember, this is England. No squad is ever selected without criticism.”

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