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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

image for Euro 2012: Rio Ferdinand 'merked' by Roy Hodgson
Hodgson likes to play jokes on players to relieve tension

New England boss Roy Hodgson today proved himself to be the joker in the pack when announcing that he had 'merked' Rio Ferdinand by not calling him up as a replacement for injured Gary Cahill.

Cahill picked up a jaw injury in the 1-0 win over Belgium on saturday, and Hodgson picked Martin Kelly to replace him. Kelly made his England debut as a substitute against Norway for three minutes the previous week, but is virtually unknown outside of Liverpool where he has played 24 professional games. He also had a spell on loan at Huddersfield two year ago.

Ferdinand was allegedly so upset at the 'snub' he couldn't even bring himself to turn on his i-phone and tweet the news personally and had his official spokesman, complete with hankerchief and real tears, do the deed for him. Ferdinand has played 81 times for his country, in three world cups, but never at the European Championships.

In 2006, the Man United defender starred in the tv programme, Rio's World Cup Wind-Ups (styled on Ashton Kutchers MTV hit show Punk'd) where he pulled pranks on Peter Crouch, Gary Neville, Shaun Wright-Philips and David Beckham. When revealing the sting, Ferdy would tell the victim 'you've been merked'.

At this mornings press conference, Hodgson was chuckling away like a hyena. "He loves a gag does Rio, I knew he'd take it well when I selected Kelly instead of him, but joking aside, on a footballing matter, he's definitely in my plans - if six more defenders drop out, he'll be the sixth person I call. Probably - L.M.F.A.O. ahahaha"

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