Prioritising club over country right move by Rio

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With John Terry demoted from his position as England captain, Rio Ferdinand was understandably installed as one of the early frontrunners to succeed the Chelsea defender.

The 33-year-old inherited the armband from Terry when the latter was sacked in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup but, following a succession of injuries, the captaincy once again changed hands.

Ferdinand was, understandably, hurt by the way he was dealt with by Fabio Capello at the time and, it is fair to say, it has damaged the relationship between the pair.

So much so, in fact, Ferdinand has already ruled himself out of contention to be England captain, following the way he was clinically dealt with by the Italian.

"I don't want to be England captain after the last episode - just want to concentrate on playing for United," Ferdinand wrote on his official Facebook page.

"If I make the squad then as ever I'll be delighted."

Given his frequent injury problems, this decision from Ferdinand can only be positive news for Manchester United, with the centre-back making the choice to commit to club rather than country.

Sir Alex Ferguson stated earlier this season that Ferdinand needed to adapt his game in order to prolong his career at Old Trafford, and regular international duty is not what Ferdinand's ageing body needs.

He, of course, has not retired from international football, but suggesting he would reject the captaincy if offered is a clear signal that his priorities are away from England.

Ferdinand has only played for his country five times over the past two years owning, in the main, to injury and he has reached the stage of his career where he needs to manage his workload more than ever.

When fit, he is still one of the country's finest defenders but, for the first time in his United career, realises he is no longer a guaranteed starter.

The continued ascent of Chris Smalling and the summer acquisition of Phil Jones have given United more young and agile options at the back, and Ferdinand must adapt or face being frozen out.

His decision to limit his commitments on the international stage are the first step to extending his longevity in the game; a shrewd move and one that can only benefit United.

Capello must now decide whether or not he can see himself picking Ferdinand going forward - especially with the potential tension between the latter and John Terry.

And United fans should hope the Italian decides Ferdinand is now surplus to requirements, so he can continue to give his all to the Old Trafford cause.

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