Rio Ferdinand: Roy Hodgson should have used England youngsters

Rio Ferdinand criticises Roy Hodgson's decision to opt against using England's promising youngsters at Euro 2012

rio ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand was not included in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2012 Photo: The Sport Review

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Rio Ferdinand has criticised Roy Hodgson’s failure to give England’s youngsters more playing time during their Euro 2012 campaign.

The Three Lions navigated the group stage unbeaten before being eliminated from the tournament in the last eight after losing to Italy 4-2 on penalties last Sunday.

Hodgson replaced Fabio Capello as the national team’s manager with expectations low, but the 64-year-old opted not to give the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones a chance to shine in Poland and Ukraine.

The 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder started England’s 1-1 draw with France in the opening game, but was used sparingly by Hodgson throughout the rest of the competition, while Jones did not make a single appearance.

“I am a fan of ‘The Ox’ and I wanted to see more of him but in the end he finished up as a spectator,” Ferdinand told the Sun.

“Phil Jones is one of the most adaptable players we have in our country and where was he?

“When we need to take the ball from midfield, run 40 yards with it and put the other team on the back foot, he is the man for the job.

“Instead, we stayed cautious and Jordan Henderson was used instead.

“That’s not a criticism of Jordan, he is a different player to Phil, but I thought it showed we were being too conservative.

“I’m reading a lot of stuff about how it’s time to get the youngsters in and all of that but you only find out if they can do it when you throw them in there.

“What did we learn about Alex and Phil at this tournament? Do we know how much influence Alex can have on a game in a finals?

“He did fairly well against France, so why not persist with him and let him grow into it?

“As for Phil, we will now have to wait until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, provided we qualify, to see how good he can be at the highest level.

“Expectations were low so the manager had a free shot to find out about our youngsters and I feel it was a missed opportunity.”

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