Rio Ferdinand announces England retirement
Rio Ferdinand has announced his international retirement.
The Manchester United defender confirmed his decision on Wednesday morning, the day before Roy Hodgson is due to name his England squad for the friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil.
"After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football," said Ferdinand.
"At the age of 34, I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career.
"The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks which bodes well for the future."
It was thought Ferdinand had a chance of being involved despite the furore that accompanied his withdrawal in March, when he was recalled for crucial World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, only to withdraw citing an "intricate and pre-planned training regime".
But the 34-year-old is expected to sign a new contract with Manchester United this summer. And, with David Moyes replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer, Ferdinand has decided the time is right to concentrate on club matters.
Ferguson said earlier this month that he felt Ferdinand had just had his best ever season. It seemed like an extreme statement, but it is true that Ferdinand has had an outstanding campaign.
He collected his sixth Premier League title winners' medal on Sunday and made 33 appearances overall, even scoring that splendid late winner against Swansea that ensured Ferguson's final game at Old Trafford was a victorious one.
"I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from under-17s upwards," he said. "I have always been very proud to play for England. I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments."
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