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Ferdinand quit England to save United career

ESPN staff
June 16, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rio Ferdinand has been at Manchester United for over a decade © PA Photos
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Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has said that he chose club over country when he decided to retire from international football in May.

In an interview with the Sunday Sun, Ferdinand, 34, revealed that continuing to play for the national side would be detrimental to his career, and also unfair on both United and England.

"Basically, I could play for another three or four years - or play two or three games for England and be finished in a year. It wasn't a contest," he said.

"I couldn't sacrifice my fitness for the sake of a few more England caps. It would not have been fair on United, it would have been a disservice to the club and to England. I've always been a team player."

Ferdinand signed a new one-year contract at United soon after he called time on his international career.

But the former West Ham and Leeds player admitted that he considered quitting football for good when Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement.

The Scot made the announcement shortly after United had won the Premier League for a 13th time, and Ferdinand, who was celebrating his sixth title win said: "Sir Alex leaving did make me think: Is it time for me to go too?"

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