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Ferdinand quits England career

15 May 2013 10:11

England defender Rio Ferdinand has retired from international football, effective immediately.

Ferdinand, 34, made the announcement on Wednesday, with the Manchester United defender citing the large crop of talent coming through the ranks as the reason behind his decision.

Ferdinand - who was captain of England briefly under Fabio Capello - won 81 caps but has not played for his country since appearing in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June 2011.

"After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right to retire from international football," Ferdinand said.

"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.

"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 (Hodgson) and the team all the best for future tournaments."

It is believed that the former Leeds United and West Ham defender was more keen on focusing on club football than prolonging his international career.

Ferdinand was selected by England manager Roy Hodgson in his squad for two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March but did not join the team, claiming he was scheduled to participate in a "pre-planned fitness programme".

Hodgson - who did not select Ferdinand for England's Euro 2012 squad - paid tribute to the centre-back after hearing of his decision.

"To have captained his country, and to play at three World Cups, marks him out among a very special group of players," 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.

"I appreciated the call from Rio to inform me of his decision, which clearly he had spent much time considering before reaching this point."

Ferdinand has been usurped in the England pecking order by fellow defenders Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Chris Smalling, Joleon Lescott and Steven Caulker in recent times.

He joins another former England captain and veteran Chelsea defender, John Terry, in walking away from international football despite still playing at a top club.

Terry quit England in September last year.

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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
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