Originally posted on Fox Soccer  |  Last updated 3/22/13
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has stood by his decision to fly to Qatar after pulling out of the England squad. The 34-year-old was called up by Roy Hodgson for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro. However, he turned down the chance to add to his 81 caps due to his detailed pre-planned training and medical programme for his long-standing back injury. Ferdinand was then criticised in some quarters after it emerged he was flying to Doha on a 15-hour round trip to appear as a pundit for Al Jazeera Sport television for the San Marino match. But he said: "I met the boss in London and we spoke about my regime and (I'm doing) what I've done at the last few international breaks - the same. "I was pencilled in to have certain treatments, had them and then I've come away to have some rest time and to recuperate and get myself ready. "I think obviously the situation with myself and the national team is well documented. "But this isn't something that I'm doing differently. This is something I've done in past international get-togethers when I've not been involved. "I've had a course of treatment that I've had to have and then to go and rest and get ready and recuperate - and that's what I've continued to do." Ferdinand has not given up hope of appearing for England in the future and revealed he is still very much a part of Hodgson's plans. "He made it very clear that he'll consider me for the next squads and that will be fantastic," he said. Ferdinand added he had cleared the trip with United before flying out. "I spoke to the club and the club doctors and the physios who have helped me organise the regime that I'm on. But ultimately it was spelled out for us anyway," he said. The fight reportedly left another man in a coma, the Foreign Office said. Reports in Italy say that the 21-year-old man was arrested on Thursday night after a fight outside the Bounty pub in Bologna, 75 miles (120km) from the enclave republic where England's World Cup qualifying match takes place. Local newspaper La Repubblica reported that a 65-year-old England fan was in a coma in hospital after having major surgery on a head injury. A Foreign office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the arrest of a British national in Italy on 21 March. We are providing consular assistance." La Repubblica reported that a group of at least seven football fans, who had been drinking, started fighting outside the pub in the Via delle Moline. They described the 65-year-old defending himself with a bar stool before being punched and then hitting his head on the ground as he fell. England take on the part-time minnows of San Marino at the Stadio Olimpico, before Tuesday's crucial trip to Montenegro. Long conceded just three goals in six League One games all month and was man of the match in a 0-0 home draw with Leyton Orient. Long said: "I would not have believed it if someone had asked me in pre-season that I would have played as many games as I have this season but I like to take it in my stride and keep my consistency levels up. "My ambition this season is to get promotion - I want to get that first before talking about anything else." Blades boss Danny Wilson added: "George has been brilliant and his temperament is unquestionable. "He is learning more with every game he plays and goalkeeping coach Darren Ward has done an excellent job with him, his shot-stopping is certainly up there with the best in the country."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Colin Kaepernick’s mom has priceless response to Trump

Report: Knicks, Carmelo Anthony pushing for trade by Monday

Cody Bellinger cracks great joke after Dodgers clinch

La Liga title race far from over as Barcelona and Real Madrid battle it out

Why the Miami Heat may begin losing relevance

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jeter plans to fire multiple Marlins special assistants

Carmelo Anthony sets up YouCaring page to help people in Puerto Rico

Kyle Shanahan takes jab at controversial pass interference call

Le'Veon Bell on precipice of amazing Steelers record

Andre Ward: A champion’s career comes to a close

Tigers will not retain manager Brad Ausmus

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

Soccer News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker