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Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of England's upcoming World Cup qualifiers


Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of England's upcoming World Cup qualifiers

The 34-year-old was forced to withdraw due to a detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he has been told to follow to help manage a long-standing back problem.

England manager Roy Hodgson met with Ferdinand on Sunday evening and the decision was taken to replace the veteran with Tottenham's Steven Caulker.

At the meeting, Ferdinand confirmed he still wanted to continue playing for his country and to be selected for the summer and autumn fixtures ahead of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

It was thought Hodgson would rest the 81-times capped defender from Friday night's Group H trip to San Marino but that he would be forced to play him in the crucial tie in Montenegro four days later with Spurs stopper Michael Dawson injured and John Terry retired.

Hodgson said: "I'm disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow it's not possible.

"However, I was pleased that Rio called and asked to meet with me. It was important to hear from him personally about the way he must manage his body between games.

"This is not to say he cannot play back-to-back games - he can and has proven so. He's out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his programme.

"I must place on record how I was impressed with his commitment to playing for England and I look forward to hopefully selecting him for squads in the future."

Ferdinand said: "It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation, and one thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever.

"It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future."

Caulker has been called up from Stuart Pearce's U21s for the senior matches on Friday, March 22 and the following Tuesday.

 

 


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