Barton, Lineker & more: Twitter reacts to Ferdinand’s withdrawal

Joey Barton and Gary Lineker both tweet their thoughts after Man United defender Rio Ferdinand withdraws from England squad

rio ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand has not featured for England since June 2011 Photo: Football.ua

rio ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has announced his withdrawal from the England squad for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

The Manchester United defender, 34, cited an “intricate pre-planned programme” designed to tackle a long-standing back problem as the reason behind his decision.

Unsurprisingly, the centre-half’s decision triggered an avalanche of tweets from the professionals both past and present.

The man-of-the-moment (‏@rioferdy5) explains his reasons: “I’m gutted I had to pull out of England squad, but it was the right decision for my intricate pre-planned programme.”

Celebrity Arsenal fan Piers Morgan (‏@piersmorgan) can’t resist a sly dig: “Sorry to see you’ve binned England on medical grounds, sicknote @rioferdy5 – presumably they’ll stop you playing in next few United games too?”

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore (‏@StanCollymore ) shows his passion for England when discussing Ferdinand’s withdrawal: “Politically powerful players and managers hold the whip hand over England. A ballsy England manager to go head to head-to-head with them please! If training regime is strict, forget WC 2014 in Brazil. More intense than San Marino/Montenegro. Try Argentina/Nigeria within a few days! Only way Ferdinand is going to ‘be available’ for England then is if it’s a one-off game. Point is what? At 34 with injuries?”

Ex-Nottingham Forest star Jan Aage Fjortoft (‏@JanAageFjortoft) agrees with his old team-mate: “Agree with @StanCollymore. The greatest honour is to represent your country. If that’s old-fashioned, well then I’m proud to be old-fashioned.”

Marseille midfielder Joey Barton (@Joey7Barton) can’t resist having his say: “Can’t blame @rioferdy5 really can you? If they had treated you and your family like that, would you do them any favours? #Wouldntofthoughtso”

England legend Gary Lineker ‏(@GaryLineker) refuses to criticise the defender: “See @rioferdy5 has pulled out of the England squad. Sorry for the delay in my response but seemed apposite to milk it for a while… Strange way to bow out, but @rioferdy5 was a superb player for England, who always rose to the big occasion. Did his country proud.”

Current Three Lions striker Wayne Rooney ‏(@WayneRooney) is relishing the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers: “Looking forward to meet up with England tonight. Two massive games.”

Finally, Morgan ‏(@piersmorgan) doesn’t limit his banter to just Ferdinand: “Don’t you have an intricate pre-planned programme too, Shrek? > RT @WayneRooney Looking forward to meet up with England. Two massive games.”

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