England squad united, insists Joleon Lescott

Updated: 24 May 2012 23:18 IST

England defender Joleon Lescott said on Thursday that there were no divisions in the Euro 2012 squad following the decision to include John Terry ahead of Rio Ferdinand.

Manchester:

England defender Joleon Lescott said on Thursday that there were no divisions in the Euro 2012 squad following the decision to include John Terry ahead of Rio Ferdinand.

Terry, who faces a July court case on allegations of racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton, was named in England's 23-man squad last week ahead of the veteran Manchester United centre-half.

England manager Roy Hodgson insisted Ferdinand's omission was "purely a footballing decision" but it has done little to assuage the army of critics who had been calling for Terry's exclusion.

It was reported earlier this year that the several black players in England's squad had indicated last November they had "a problem" with Terry's presence in the set-up when the controversy erupted.

However Lescott told a press conference after England's training session at Manchester City's home ground on Thursday that there was no issue with Chelsea defender Terry.

"Definitely not, there is no animosity in the squad. We are all here for the same reason and that is to do well for England," said Lescott, who is expected to start in Saturday's friendly against Norway in Oslo.

Lescott, however, paid tribute to United star Ferdinand, admitting it was a "shame" he had not been included.

"He is a great player and has been a great one for England," Lescott said. "He is probably one of the players I looked at most growing up. It's a shame he is not in the squad but it was the manager's decision.

"I don't think it was an easy choice to make picking his squad."

Meanwhile, Lescott expressed sympathy for team-mate Theo Walcott, whose family had opted against travelling to Ukraine for the Euros because of concerns of being targeted for racist abuse.

"It's a shame they have to make a decision not based on footballing reasons," he said. "I think it's a shame for Theo himself to deal with that."

Lescott revealed his own relatives were not planning to travel to Ukraine, although he stressed it was not connected to racism fears.

"My family won't be going out there, not for any particular reason," he said. "If things are said in the crowd you just have to deal with it and address it after.

"It's a shame we are talking about it, I think we always will be, it's a touchy subject for some to talk about. I think if you address it pretty early I don't think it will be as much of a problem.

"In this country on the whole I think we are stepping in the right direction."

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