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Ferguson: Ferdinand will be in England squad

16 March 2013 22:03

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Rio Ferdinand will be in the England squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

The Scot admitted he was surprised about the centre-back's international recall after being left out of the squad for Euro 2012 and hinted the 34-year-old may not be fit enough for release.

However the Red Devils boss has now confirmed that his defender will definitely join up with the national team for the games against San Marino and Montenegro after an impressive display in the 1-0 victory over Reading.

When asked if Ferdinand would be in the England squad, he told ESPN: "Yes.

"We've always known Rio has the ability to break forward into midfield with his ability on the ball. Obviously he doesn't do it that often these days, but nonetheless he did it today and got us a goal."

Wayne Rooney's deflected strike after 20 minutes was enough to give a below-par United side the win against Reading, and saw them extend their lead over Manchester City to 15 points.

Ferguson insisted the league leaders did not underestimate their opponents but said their own performance was not one of their best.

"They're down at the bottom of the league, so we expected (them to come out fighting)," he said.

"Some of their football was very good. But they didn't really make any chances and all their danger came from where we expected - set pieces. We did defend quite well.

"We don't (play bad) that often. Most of the time we have played well this season. It has been a great season for us. The performance today didn't really reflect that we're 15 points ahead."

Ferguson made eight changes from the Red Devils' last outing and indicated that his aim was to keep his players fresh with the international break in mind.

"That was the idea," he said. "We've got players who will be playing internationals. Chicharito has got to go across to Central America where he as two games.

"Antonio Valencia has two games also. It's the travel as much as anything. We have six England players going away with them, so it was a good opportunity to rest some."

Reading caretaker boss Eamonn Dolan was angered by the decision not to award his team a penalty when Adrian Mariappa was pushed down in the box by Nemanja Vidic.

"It was a clear penalty but I think the referee thought I was on work experience and, 'perfect, a little 1-0 loss for Reading' and would be fine," he told Sky Sports.

"I wouldn't have expected that from the referee but what can you do?"

Dolan assumed the post when Brian McDermott was sacked by the club on Monday, and he said he had been taken unawares by the move.

"No-one was more surprised than me," he said.

"It is well documented that Brian is a good friend of mine but the decision was made and we move forward."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 8 +15 22
2 8 +10 17
3 8 +14 16
4 8 +4 13
5 8 +1 13
6 8 +3 12
7 8 +2 11
8 8 +1 11
9 8 -1 11
10 8 -1 11
11 8 +0 10
12 8 -8 10
13 8 +0 9
14 8 -1 9
15 8 -2 9
16 8 -3 8
17 8 -7 8
18 8 -6 7
19 8 -9 4
20 8 -12 4

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