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Ferdinand calls time on England career

ESPN staff
May 15, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rio Ferdinand helped Manchester United to the Premier League title this season © Getty Images
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Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has confirmed his retirement from international football.

Ferdinand's last England appearance came in 2011, but he had been in contention for a recall under Roy Hodgson earlier this season.

The defender was due to feature in the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro earlier this season, only to pull out citing fitness concerns.

He was still believed to be in Hodgson's thinking despite his controversial withdrawal, but the 34-year-old has now confirmed his retirement from international football.

"After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football," Ferdinand said in a statement on the FA's official website. "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.

Rio Ferdinand factfile

  • 81 caps, three goals

    Two World Cup appearances - 2002, 2006

    England debut v Cameroon, November 1997

    Final England appearance v Switzerland, June 2011

"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.

"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 "

Of a player who made 81 appearances in a 14-year international career, Hodgson said: "It is important to pay tribute to someone of Rio's stature and the achievements he had in a senior international career with England over 14 years at the highest level.

"To have captained his country, to play at three World Cups and indeed score in one of those, marks him out amongst a very special group of players. I appreciated the call from Rio to inform me of his decision, which clearly he had spent much time considering before reaching this point.

"I wish him all the best in his club career, and I'm sure the former managers he played under and every England fan will join me in thanking him for his service."

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