England captain Steven Gerrard accepts fans who booed Rio Ferdinand in San Marino on Friday night had every right to "show their frustration" over the Manchester United defender's withdrawal from the national squad.
Ferdinand was called up for the first time in the Roy Hodgson era for the games in San Marino and Montenegro, but turned down the chance to add to his 81 caps in order to adhere to his detailed pre-planned training and medical programme.
The 34-year-old risked the ire of the Three Lions boss and supporters alike even further when it emerged he was flying to Doha to appear as a pundit for Al Jazeera Sport television for Friday's 8-0 win over San Marino. Vicious anti-Ferdinand chants were heard from sections of the travelling support, and Gerrard said: "I think the fans have shown their frustration about Rio not being here."
Quoted in several national newspapers, Liverpool midfielder Gerrard, rested for the match, added: "They're entitled to their opinion; they pay good money to come over here.
"We all wanted Rio here because he's a good player and he certainly would have helped us over these two games.
"But he's made his decision and we need to respect that."