England

Gerrard understands fan frustration

Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United
Rio Ferdinand was recalled to the England squad but pulled out later.
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England captain Steven Gerrard admits supporters have every right to vent their frustration over the Rio Ferdinand saga.

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Manchester United defender Ferdinand was recalled by national coach Roy Hodgson for a 2014 World Cup qualifying double-header with San Marino and Montenegro.

He was drafted back in after a spell in the international wilderness, but ended up pulling out of the squad citing a pre-planned training regime which had been agreed with his club employers as the reason behind his decision.

Ferdinand then fanned the flames further by jetting out to Doha to cover the San Marino game as a television pundit, and saw sections of the travelling England support single him out for terrace taunts.

Gerrard understands the fan angst, but insists the players remain fully focused on the task in hand - with England striving to book their place at next year's tournament in Brazil.

He said: "I think the fans have shown their frustration about Rio not being here. They're entitled to their opinion, they pay good money to come over here.

"We all wanted Rio here because he's a good player and he would have helped us over these two games. But he's made his decision and we have to respect that."

Gerrard added on England's supporters: "They're unbelievable and most of them are going to Montenegro now.

"They got behind the team from start to finish in San Marino and that's why all the players went over and thanked them.

"Hopefully, we can get the same support again in Montenegro because they will be a big help to us."

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