Ferdinand tells Chelsea, West Ham pair ‘to retire’ from England duty after ‘disrespectful’ Southgate call

Ferdinand questions England Credit: Alamy
Ferdinand questions England Credit: Alamy

Rio Ferdinand thinks Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling and West Ham’s James Ward-Prowse should “retire” from England duty after Gareth Southgate’s latest snub.

England face Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifier and Scotland in a friendly this month and Southgate named his squad for these fixtures last week.

The Three Lions boss has been slammed by critics for selecting Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips, while Sterling and Ward-Prowse were notable absentees.

Sterling struggled during his debut season for Chelsea in 2022/23 but he has made a strong start to this campaign. He’s been their standout performer under Mauricio Pochettino as he’s scored two goals in their four Premier League games.

Ward-Prowse meanwhile joined West Ham from Southampton in the summer in a deal worth around £30m. The midfield has enjoyed a dream start at the London Stadium as he’s been involved in four goals already this season.

Ferdinand has admitted that he “would retire” from international duty if he was Sterling or Ward-Prowse.

“If I was Sterling, I’d be very disappointed bearing in mind what he’s done for this England team when he’s been in or around it,” Ferdinand said via his Vibe with Five podcast.”If you’re going by the yard stick that Gareth’s using with the likes of [Harry] Maguire and [Kalvin] Phillips, why is it all right for them guys to get in and not him?

“Sterling’s probably been the main bright spark at Chelsea. It’s just nuts. I’d retire. If I’m someone like Ward-Prowse I’d just retire.

“Say, “listen, don’t pick me no more. There’s no point. It’s disrespectful what you’re doing”. It is to people like him, especially Ward-Prowse who’s been putting up numbers for his team on a regular basis. What more does a man got to do to get a sniff?”

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During his press conference last week, Southgate admitted Sterling was “not happy” about being left out of the latest England squad.

“We were really pleased with the group (in June),” the England manager said.

“To bring Raheem back in we have to leave someone else out and on the back of three games I didn’t think anybody in this group of attacking players warrants being left out.

“It’s really good to see him start the season so well. He looks in good condition, he looks hungry. He’s obviously an important player for us and has been an important player for us.”

He added: “It’s a difficult call and Raheem is not particularly happy about it, but I understand that because he’s an important player for us.

“I’m convinced he’s going to have an excellent season with Chelsea, there’s no doubt about that.”

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