Tottenham Hotspur star Rafael Van der Vaart is surprised by Roy Hodgson's decision to omit Rio Ferdinand from the England squad.

The Spurs playmaker believes the Manchester United player remains one of England's best defenders, but Ferdinand was overlooked by new England boss Hodgson.

Ferdinand was left out of Hodgson's original England squad, and even after Gary Cahill was ruled out through injury, the United star was ignored in favour of Liverpool defender Martin Kelly.

Ferdinand's representative has since accused Hodgson of showing a 'lack of respect' towards the 33-year-old, who has 81 caps for his country. And Spurs' Dutch star Van der Vaart believes the decision to leave Ferdinand at home was a 'strange' one.

Van der Vaart told BBC Sport: "It's strange. I think he's still one of the best defenders in England and maybe in the world.

"He's fit and fresh and he plays for Manchester United so I'm surprised."

Ferdinand featured 38 times for his club last season, as the Red Devils finished second in the Premier League, but Hodgson insists he left the United defender out for 'footballing reasons'.

Van der Vaart is set to feature for Holland at Euro 2012, and although they face Germany, Portugal and Denmark in the so-called 'Group of Death', the Dutch remain one of the favourites to take home the trophy.

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