Man United defender Rio Ferdinand retires from England duty
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand announces his international retirement after winning 81 England caps
Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from international football to concentrate on playing for Manchester United.
The 34-year-old Red Devils defender, who won 81 England caps, has not featured for the Three Lions since a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June 2011.
Ferdinand was recalled to the England squad by Roy Hodgson for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro but the defender pulled out due to a “pre-planned fitness programme”.
“After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football,” Ferdinand said.
“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.”
He added: “I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from under-17s upwards.
“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.
“A big thank you to all the fans, managers, coaching staff and players that I have worked alongside – the journey has been incredible.”
Ferdinand has been part of England’s squad at four World Cups and one European championship during a 16-year international career.
Hodgson controversially omitted Ferdinand from England’s 23-man travelling party for Euro 2012, with the Three Lions boss insisting it was a “footballing decision”.
Hodgson added: “To have captained his country, and to play at three World Cups, marks him out among a very special group of players.”