Rio Ferdinand`s England omission `great` for France, says Evra

Warsaw: France defender Patrice Evra has expressed his surprise at the omission of his Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand from the England squad, but believes the 33-year-old`s exclusion is great news for Les Bleus.

Ferdinand has won 81 caps for his country since making his debut in 1997 but was left out of Roy Hodgson`s initial 23-man squad and snubbed again when Gary Cahill had to withdraw through injury.

The Chelsea centre-back was replaced by Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly, prompting speculation that Ferdinand had not been included due to John Terry`s upcoming court case on allegations he directed racial abuse towards Rio`s brother, Anton.

"I am really surprised Rio isn`t playing," Evra told The Sun. "He`s a big, strong player and I just don`t know what is happening.

"Maybe Rio has every reason to feel disappointed. Whatever though, it`s great for us [France].

"I will text him in the next few days to see how he is feeling."

Kelly`s call-up led Ferdinand to post "What reasons?????!!!" on his Twitter account, having previously been told by Hodgson that he had been left out of the squad for "footballing reasons".

The former Leeds United player`s representative, Jamie Moralee has criticised Hodgson and the Football Association for what he calls a "total lack of respect" over the decision while former England defender Sol Campbell has been quoted as asking whether a "cover-up" had been engineered.

France and England play their first match of Euro 2012 against each other at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Monday.