The statistics of San Marino’s national football make for some grim reading…
They have zero points in the FIFA world rankings and are dead last.
They have won once in their history and lost an incredible 111.
They have scored only 16 goals although one of them was the fastest goal in World Cup history against England while conceding an eye watering 465.
These stats courtesy of Daniel Taylor in Serravalle for the Guardian however with San Marino no more than an afterthought for the English team, the pre-match niceties were always going to swerve into Rio Ferdinand territory.
In his piece, Taylor talks about the influence that Sir Alex Ferguson has on his players in terms of international play.
Ferguson has basically held the international game hostage since beginning his iron rule at Old Trafford and one would’ve thought that the respective home football associations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) would at some point put a stop to his manipulation. Instead the respective FA’s stand meekly aside.
Ryan Giggs, undoubtedly the best Welsh player since John Charles would’ve had a century of caps for his country under any other manager but Ferguson would keep him in Manchester with the sniffles.
In a 14 year career for Ireland, Roy Keane amassed only 67 caps often withdrawing from the squad at the last moment.
David Beckham who relished playing for England was shipped out of Old Trafford after Ferguson said that he was trying harder for his national team than club.
And now we have Ferdinand who reading between the lines has been told to choose your country or United.
When your employer calls the tune, you have no choice but to jump however it does appear that Ferguson has always been tougher on all nationalities bar Scottish players.
At the end of the day Ferdinand would make zero difference in the San Marino contest but Tuesday night versus Montenegro is completely different as his experience would be vital. If England should lose the defender will take the brunt of the criticism but in reality Ferguson would be the man to point the finger at.