Hart: Absence of Rio CAN'T distract us ahead of France clash
00:35 GMT, 8 June 2012
Joe Hart acknowledged England could not allow the Rio Ferdinand saga to damage their European Championship build-up on the day France coach Laurent Blanc waded into the controversy.
Anton Ferdinand also broke his silence on his older brother's omission from the squad.
Who says we can't do it Joe Hart believes England can go all the way
Then Blanc became the latest leading figure in the game to suggest the Manchester United defender was not left at home for 'football reasons' ahead of Les Bleus' clash with England on Monday.
Opposite number Roy Hodgson's decision not to select Ferdinand has caused a storm and there have been reports of divisions within the squad over the matter.
Elsewhere: Roy Hodgson decided not to select Rio Ferdinand (left) after Tim Cahill's injury
Goalkeeper Hart accepted he and his team-mates must not let it become a distraction in Poland and Ukraine.
'It can't be,' he said. 'We've just got to concentrate on who's in the squad and how we're going to win.'
Winger Stewart Downing claimed the backlash against Ferdinand's exclusion was not even a topic of conversation at the team's Krakow base.
'Certainly not,' he said. 'Whoever the manager picks, we just get on with it.
'I just concentrate on my own game and why I am here. It has obviously been built up but players just get on with it.'
Smash: Cahill collided with Hart during England's game against Belgium
Insisting the furore had not already had a negative impact on the squad, he added: 'The manager has just told us to concentrate on playing in the games and the players who are here.
'Rio is a terrific player and a good lad but it's up to the manager who he picks.'
Hodgson has claimed Ferdinand's non-selection was nothing to do with the possibility of disharmony between the United centre-back and John Terry.
Terry faces a court case on July 9 after being charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a match between Chelsea and QPR last October. Chelsea captain Terry denies the charge.
Several high-profile former players have contended this was precisely the reason Ferdinand was ignored and France boss Blanc joined them today.
I choose you: Martin Kelly was selected ahead of Ferdinand
He said: 'I know Rio Ferdinand. I think, from afar, that the choice to not take him isn't a sporting choice
'Rio Ferdinand is a very good player but (his exclusion) has been surprising with all the injuries in that department.'
Anton Ferdinand earlier refused to join the condemnation of his brother's omission.
Rio Ferdinand's adviser, Jamie Moralee, this week branded the decision to call up Martin Kelly as a replacement for the injured Gary Cahill on Sunday “disrespectful” and the player was equally unhappy.
Ready or not Hart and his team-mates face France on Monday
However, the United man vowed to support England in the tournament and his brother has backed up those sentiments.
'Things happen in football,' he told Daybreak.
'It's a game of ups and downs. I am sure he'd like to be there but sadly it didn't happen this time.
'But we move on and, like he said, he's going to follow them from somewhere else and, as a family and as a community, we're going to do that.'
In it to win it: Hart believes England can win the Euros
The 81-cap Ferdinand was overlooked for a player who made his international debut just two minutes from the end of last Saturday's friendly win in Norway.
Hart also hit back at the idea that England are merely at Euro 2012 to make friends, avoid embarrassment and lay some plans for the future.
'We're all hungry guys,' said England's goalkeeper.
'We don't want to come here thinking, 'people won't mind if we lose'.
We have high expectations, otherwise there's no point in being here.
We have come to win it.'
The Manchester City No 1 is certain to start between the sticks in England's opener against France on Monday.