By Ciaran O Raghallaigh in Poland
THE team might sing God Save the Queen before every game, but this week it’s been a case of God Thank the Queen, as the Jubilee kept some of the spotlight off Roy Hodgson and his men.
England’s backroom staff have been relieved at the timing of the quintessentially British celebrations, just as the Euro 2012 countdown quickens.
Since England beat Belgium last weekend, Hodgson has decided not to talk to the English media – avoiding, or rather, delaying, any confrontation over defender Rio Ferdinand’s absence.
The England boss is set to speak to the press on Thursday in Krakow, where Rio’s exile is going to be ‘the only show in town’ according to someone close to the camp.
Gary Cahill was ruled out of the tournament after picking up a jaw injury in the win over Belgium, with Liverpool’s Martin Kelly called up in his place.
Robbie Fowler not the only one speaking out
The Reds stopper may be one for the future, but picking him ahead of a player with years of experience playing for Manchester United and England? It’s clearly not ‘footballing reasons’ that’s keeping Rio out of the team as the Paddy Power Blog’s columnist Robbie Fowler claimed.
Robbie is not the only one speaking out though, as Paul Ince and anti-racism campaigners have weighed in with their opinions. As well as Sven Goran Eriksson. But the ex-England boss is defending Hodsgon’s decision and insists Rio’s absence is nothing to do with a rift between Rio and John Terry.
“I know there is no truth in these claims,” he claimed in his column for Swedish newspaper Expressen. “How? You’re just going to have to trust me.”
With a gift for putting that much mystery and intrigue in just one sentence, it’s no wonder Sven’s little black book is so big.
Meanwhile, England’s players are set to follow the Dutch and Italian counterparts by visiting Auschwitz. All 23 Italy players, coach Cesare Prandelli and team staff toured the Nazi death camp, escorted by three Italian survivors of the Holocaust – 81-year-old Samuel Modiano, 84-year-old Hanna Weiss and Piero Terracina.
“It leaves you in shock. You can’t not come here,” Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo said. “It’s a time for self-introspection.”
(Picture: FA, via Getty)