Defensive dilemma

Rift between defenders could see Terry omitted, says Custis

Last Updated: 13/05/12 1:03pm

Shaun Custis told the Sunday Supplement why Roy Hodgson can't take both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand to Euro 2012.

"They are both symbols of an England past that hasn't been very good."

Andy Dunn

Quotes of the week

The relationship between the central defenders, who have been mainstays of the England squad for many years, has apparently broken down and the new international boss must now decide whether to name them in his squad on Wednesday.

Terry was stripped of the England captaincy in February following allegations that he racially abused Rio's brother Anton Ferdinand and The Sun's chief football writer says the rift would cause problems in the camp this summer.

"I think it's very, very difficult to take them both," he told the Sunday Supplement.

"Maybe on the field you can do it, but it's sitting down for breakfast, lunch and in the evenings. Do you sit with JT, do you sit with Rio or do all 23 of them have to sit round in a circle all the time?

"It's bound to crop up. The situation can't not crop up in some conversation at some point and it is going to make it difficult when you're together for six weeks.

"The players have admitted that in the past, despite the fact they always said team spirit was great, they've had factions. Man United players sat together, Liverpool players sat together and they said it wasn't conducive to team spirit.

"I think it is going to be a huge problem."

Ability

Terry had a poor game for Chelsea against Liverpool in midweek, but Custis still believes he's one of England's best defensive options.

However, he says that if Hodgson judges the duo on form then Ferdinand is more likely to go to the tournament.

"Ideally I would say Ferdinand and Terry should go on ability," Custis added.

"I know Terry had a bad night the other day, but as a player I still think he's crucial - but I don't think they will both go.

"The problem is Ferdinand's injury problems. Sir Alex Ferguson has alluded to the fact that can he play two games in four days?

"But if you flip a coin on which one you'd take, it's got to be Ferdinand for me."

Neither

Fellow Supplement guest Andy Dunn argued that neither player should go to Poland and the Ukraine.

The Sunday Mirror journalist believes Hodgson should take the opportunity to try out some younger players this summer as he begins the process of rebuilding the national team.

"Let's face it," he said. "They are both symbols of an England past that hasn't been very good.

"If we're going to say we're moving forward and this tournament, as we're led to believe, is going to be a stepping stone to not even World Cup 2014, but Euro 2016 and if it's going to be a chance to blood young players then why go through what is clearly going to be a poisonous situation?

"They've been great players, but symbols of a very mediocre recent past. Let's move forward. Let's bring in young players."