Former England international Rio Ferdinand has called for Raheem Sterling and James Ward-Prowse to retire from international football in response to what he perceives as a disrespectful snub from manager Gareth Southgate. Ferdinand believes that the two players, who were left out of the recent England squad, should consider focusing on their club careers instead.
Sterling, who plays for Manchester City, and Ward-Prowse, who represents Southampton, were both omitted from the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania, and Poland. Their absence surprised many, given their consistent performances for their respective clubs this season.
Ferdinand expressed his disappointment with Southgate’s decision, stating that it sends a disrespectful message to the players. He argued that if Southgate doesn’t see Sterling and Ward-Prowse as integral members of the squad, then they should consider retiring from international duty to prioritize their club commitments.
The former Manchester United defender also highlighted the importance of players feeling valued and respected by their national team manager. He suggested that if players consistently perform well for their clubs but are consistently overlooked at the international level, it may be time for them to reassess their priorities.
Ferdinand’s comments come amidst a growing debate about the selection process for the England squad. Many fans and pundits have questioned Southgate’s choices, particularly regarding the exclusion of certain players who have been performing exceptionally well in the Premier League.
Sterling, in particular, has been in fine form for Manchester City, contributing significantly to their success this season. Ward-Prowse, too, has been a standout performer for Southampton, showcasing his skills as a set-piece specialist.
While Southgate has not provided detailed explanations for his decisions, he has previously emphasized the importance of competition for places within the squad. The manager has often stated that he has difficult choices to make due to the abundance of talented players available to him.
It remains to be seen how Sterling and Ward-Prowse will respond to Ferdinand’s suggestion. Retiring from international football is a significant decision that would have long-term implications for their careers.
Ultimately, the debate surrounding Southgate’s squad selection continues, with critics questioning his choices and urging him to consider the performances of certain players who have been left out. As England prepares for the European Championships later this year, the pressure on Southgate to make the right decisions will only intensify.