Euro 2012: John Terry and Rio Ferdinand 'must play together'

John Terry and Rio Ferdinand must put their differences to one side and play together for England at Euro 2012, say four former internationals.

Alan Shearer, David James, Martin Keown and Danny Mills told BBC Sport that the defenders should unite for the cause.

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For that 90 minutes on the pitch you are a professional expected to do a job

Danny Mills Former England defender

Terry was stripped of the England captaincy in February after allegations that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand, brother of Rio.

"The needs of the team are more important," said James.

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The veteran goalkeeper, who replaced Robert Green as England's number one during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, told the BBC: "We're talking about two players who have a wealth of experience.

"It would be wrong to think that England haven't had squad meetings where players haven't got on with each other. That's life.

"The needs of the county and the team are more important than any personal issues."

Danny Mills, who played as England's right-back at the 2002 World Cup and appeared 19 times for his country, added: "Players play, even when they don't like each other.

"I'm pretty sure in every walk of life that there are people in the building in your own team that you don't like. That's life - get on with it.

"You're playing for your country at the pinnacle of your career.

"It's for 90 minutes. You don't have to go out for dinner or speak to each other, but for that 90 minutes on the pitch you are a professional expected to do a job."

Former Arsenal and England centre-back Martin Keown said: "You need to be professional, and that is what will happen. John Terry and Rio Ferdinand have been outstanding professionals. I'm sure they can come together again.

"Listen, Rio's brother is involved in this situation. It may be an emotional thing. That's why Roy [Hodgson] needs to talk to them, and find out how they feel."

Hodgson, appointed England's new manager on Tuesday following Fabio Capello's resignation in February, has said he will speak to both Terry and Ferdinand before making a decision about whether to include either of the pair in his first England squad.

Former England captain Alan Shearer thinks Hodgson's experience at club and international will prove invaluable.

"Hodgson will deal with it in the way he's dealt with issues with players at every team he's managed," he said.

"That's why he's been so successful, because he's been able to handle that. He's experienced, and that's why he's probably been given the job.

"He'll want to speak to both of them and then see what the outcome is."