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Giggs thanks England for overlooking Rio

ESPN staff
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Ryan Giggs believes Manchester United have been the beneficiaries of Rio Ferdinand's England exile after the centre-back put in another stellar performance in the 1-1 draw at Real Madrid on Wednesday night.

Ferdinand, 34, has not played for England since a 2-2 European Championship qualifying draw with Switzerland at Wembley in June 2011 and has never been selected by current boss Roy Hodgson.

But the veteran, who is out of contract at United in the summer, has not let the situation with his international career, which appears to be over, affect his club form.

Ferdinand has started 19 Premier League games this season, though his appearance in Madrid was only his second Champions League start of the campaign.

When asked if the England situation has affected Ferdinand, Giggs, who was applauded onto the pitch by Madrid fans when he came off the bench, said: "I don't think it has. We're just happy that he's playing so well for United.

"England's loss is our gain. The rest of the stuff we're not too bothered about as long as he keeps putting in performances like that. He has been playing like that all season. His experience, leadership skills and organisation were needed with two young players around him, Jonny [Evans] and Rafa [Da Silva].

"He's just a top player. He has proved that again and again and he's proved that in Madrid. He's an intelligent person and an intelligent player.

"I was similar in that I had to change my game because of the hamstring problems I was getting. You do have to change your game as you get older and he has done that really well.

"To still be playing at 34 at that standard is testimony to the way Rio has looked after himself and the ability he has got."

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