Roy Hodgson has finally revealed the much talked about "football reasons" behind Rio Ferdinand's England snub for the European Championships.
Hodgson claimed he had overlooked Ferdinand because it would have been wrong to have him in his European Championship squad and not in the starting XI.
"Rio Ferdinand for me is not a player that you call up as a substitute, or to cover for the players that you have," the new England manager told ITV.
"We turned to Martin Kelly because I knew he was going to be someone who would be very useful to us.
"He's very happy to be here knowing that his chances of playing a big part in the tournament are quite small.
"You don't turn to people like Rio Ferdinand for that."
The backlash against Ferdinand's omission has threatened to overshadow England's Euro 2012 campaign, which they begin on Monday.
Hodgson insisted when naming his original squad that the 33-year-old was left out for "football reasons".
But his refusal to go into detail about those reasons fuelled speculation Ferdinand was actually overlooked due to the potential for disharmony between the Manchester United defender and John Terry.
Terry is due to stand trial on July 9 charged with racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton, something the Chelsea captain denies.
Hodgson was adamant that had no bearing on his decision but when he ignored Ferdinand again after calling up rookie defender Kelly for the injured Gary Cahill, the conspiracy theory really took hold.
Ferdinand himself tweeted, "What reasons?????!!!", while his friend and agent Jamie Moralee branded the decision "disrespectful".
The United star believes his international future may be over but Hodgson told BBC Sport today: "Ferdinand has no reason to fear for his international future.
"All the time he's playing, I'll keep watching."
Hodgson said there was never any prospect of Ferdinand being selected for Euro 2012 when Cahill was injured, claiming he had even considered recalling broken-toe victim Kyle Walker.
"Our first thought was Kyle Walker because he was one of my original selections," he said.
"We did get in touch with him just to check whether the toe had cleared up. It hadn't, so then we turned back to Martin Kelly.
"There was never any question of, 'Which player should I take here?"'
what do you think?
Utter rubbish. It's the race issue between terry and Ferdinand, hence unsettling the camp. He had to choose one or the other. Funny how England is questioning Poland and Ukraine regarding racism and they them selves have a racist on trial in terry. Politics is a corrupt world.