Rio Ferdinand says he is delighted to have been included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
The Manchester United defender, who has 81 caps having made his debut in 1997 against Cameroon, hasn’t been selected by Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson since his appointment last year, and hasn't played for England since the 2-2 draw against Switzerland in June 2011.
However a recent fine run of form with Manchester United had led to calls for the centre-back to be recalled for his country. The 34-year-old told GiveMeFootball exclusively for his official Facebook page: “Always honoured to be picked for my country, a big thanks to all out there that believed in me!”
Speaking after announcing his squad for the two Group H qualifiers later this month, Hodgson admitted that Ferdinand’s recent rich vein of form had made his decision to name him in his 26-man squad easy.
"It's a no brainer,” he said. “We need a good centre-half. It's not really much more complicated than that.
"There's no sinister connection with his lack of selection in the past.
"He's playing well, his team are doing extremely well and this is the moment to select him because he deserves it on current form.
"Hopefully he can help us win the next two matches because that's the most important thing."
Ferdinand is included alongside no less than six other Manchester United players in Hodgson’s squad, with Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck in the mix.
England go up against San Marino on March 22 at Wembley, before travelling to take on Montenegro four days later in a game which could have a large say on who ends up topping the group.