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'Gutted' Rio out of England squad

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19 Mar 2013 07:17:00

'Gutted' Rio out of England squad

Rio Ferdinand declared himself "gutted" to miss out on an England return and hit out at former players for their negative reaction to him pulling out of Roy Hodgson's squad, accusing them of 'chatting rubbish'.

Hodgson announced on Monday that Ferdinand had withdrawn from the Three Lions squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro as the 34-year-old manages his fitness. Ferdinand also took umbrage at the reactions of some former professionals to his decision.

He tweeted on Monday night: "I thought these ex sportsman who have experience with injuries + maintenance would know better than to chat rubbish like they are doing..."

As Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson explained on Friday, there were huge concerns at Old Trafford over the disruption to a long-standing schedule the club's medical staff have put in place for Ferdinand.And while the player was desperate to resume his 81-cap international career, he accepted it was not worth the risk.

The player travelled to London on Sunday to tell Hodgson in person, and he said: "I'm gutted I had to pull out of (the) England squad. But it was the right decision for my intricate pre-planned programme. It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation.

"One thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever.

"It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future."

Whilst friendlies against the Republic of Ireland on May 29 and Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on June 2 do not look like the obvious games in which Ferdinand can resume his England career, the fact he can do so in a less pressurised environment - and after the domestic season has finished - make it more likely.

That would ease Ferdinand back into the fray in time for the crucial World Cup qualifiers in the autumn that will determine whether England make it to Brazil next year or not.

There is no doubt Ferdinand's absence for this month's games is a blow, though, particularly as Tottenham's Michael Dawson withdrew on Sunday, meaning Steven Caulker and Joleon Lescott have both been drafted into Hodgson's squad to join Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling, the other central defenders originally chosen.


PA

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