Rio Ferdinand pulls out of England squad

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Football News

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers this week.

The Old Trafford star cited the training and medical preparations he does to get ready for games as stopping him from taking part in the matched with San Marino and Montenegro.

Ferdinand has been playing well for Manchester United for some time and the good form resulted in a first international call-up since 2011.

England manager Roy Hogdson had a meeting with the 34-year-old to determine what action to take ahead of the crucial fixtures.

“I have withdrawn from the England Squad due to a pre-planned training and medical programme that I must follow,” he said on his official Facebook page.

Part of the reasoning for pulling out is the notice Ferdinand was given ahead of the Three Lions call.

Hodgson revealed Ferdinand was capable of playing two games within four days but needed greater preparation time to be able to do so.

"I'm disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow it's not possible,” said Hodgson.

“This is not to say he cannot play back-to-back games - he can and has proven so. He's out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his programme.”

The Manchester United centre-back has made no secret of his desire to represent his country and he insisted dropping out of this squad does not mean he is lacking commitment.

“It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation, and one thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever,” Ferdinand added in his Facebook post.

“It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future.”

England’s first game in on Friday March 22 against minnows San Marino at Wembley before a tricky away clash in Montenegro four days later.

Montenegro lead Group H by two points so a win for the Three Lions will be crucial in their bid to finish top of the group and qualify automatically for Brazil 2014.

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