LONDON (Reuters) – Queens Park Rangers defender Rio Ferdinand, banned for three games after being found guilty of misconduct by the English FA for an “abusive” Twitter comment, faces a battle to get back into the first team, according to manager Harry Redknapp.
Ferdinand, 35, who has made an indifferent start at QPR following his move from Manchester United, was also fined 25,000 pounds (US$40,000) and ordered to attend an education programme as part of the punishment handed down following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.
Redknapp, speaking to reporters on Thursday before QPR face Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday, said he had not seen the FA’s report and could not comment on it, or whether the club would appeal the ruling.
Ferdinand missed QPR’s match against Liverpool on Oct 19 – a game in which they played far better than they had been with him in the team, despite losing 3-2.
They also played well without him to beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Loftus Road on Monday when they moved off the bottom of the table and Redknapp praised the performances of centre backs Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker.
“The lads who played at the back played very well, they were outstanding and I thought Richard Dunne was man of the match the other night,” he said.
“Rio understands that. The team played well against Liverpool and now he just has to wait for his chance to get back in and he has to keep working hard until the opportunity comes.”
Ferdinand hinted on the Jonathan Ross TV show last week that he was considering retiring at the end of the season, but Redknapp says that despite the current situation, Ferdinand was still part of his plans.