It’s OK for the fans to criticize Rio – Steven Gerrard

Steven GerrardSteven Gerrard has backed the travelling England fans who slated Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand for his no-show in San Marino.

The anti-Ferdinand chants of the 4,000 England supporters who invaded the tiny republic would have come over loud and clear on the TV monitor in Qatar where the defender was on punditry duty and Gerrard said: “I think the fans have shown their frustrations about Rio not being here.

“They are entitled to their opinion. They’ve spent good money to come here. Of course we all wanted Rio here because he is a good player and he certainly would have helped us over the two games against San Marino and Montenegro.

“But he’s made his decision and we need to respect that.”

In San Marino, the fans started with ‘Rio Ferdinand, we know what you are’ and the intensity of hatred towards the Old Trafford star increased as the game, won by England 8-0, wore on.

In the end, the expletives were clear for everyone to hear – the fans believing that Ferdinand had messed England about when he withdrew, citing the need to continue with his personal training and rehabilitation regime.

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