Despite lasting the whole 90 minutes in the 2-0 defeat of Wigan on Saturday, a groin injury picked up while playing for England in the friendly match against France last week will keep Manchester United’s influential defender Rio Ferdinand out of the Champions League clash with Rangers on Wednesday night. According to manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the injury was not bad enough to rule him out of the Wigan game but is not prepared to risk aggravating the problem in Glasgow. United only needs a single point from their last two qualifying matches to ensure progress to the knock out stage.
“Rio has a groin injury now” Ferguson revealed “we won’t be taking him up to Glasgow to face Rangers in the Champions League on Wednesday I wouldn’t think.” Unlike his counterpart at Anfield who was furious with the England management following a hamstring injury suffered by Steven Gerrard which will keep him out of action for 4 weeks, Sir Alex has no complaints saying that injuries are always a possibility when on international duty
“I had no arrangement with England about how long my players would play” he said “I’m not surprised other clubs might have spoken about that as it has happened in the past. I’ve done it with Sven-Goran Eriksson and Terry Venables when they were in charge. I spoke to them and outlined the situation with certain players, particularly when you get to March and have European ties coming up. The present day national boss needs that flexibility to help clubs, because we need to help each other” he said.
“I’ve no complaints about what happened to Rio because you accept injuries are part of the game” he continued “I don’t know the situation with Liverpool and how long was agreed that he would play, but you can’t be precise in these games. Don’t forget, England were losing and now they are getting hammered in the media for a friendly defeat.”
As usual, Sir Alex talks plenty of common sense despite the undoubted fact that United’s defence is bound to be weakened by Ferdinand’s absence in Glasgow. Ferguson has been around long enough to know that the long season ahead must have a far greater priority than a single 90 minute appearance.
Is Ferguson correct in his assessment of international matches?