Rio Ferdinand has retired from England duty to concentrate on his football with Manchester United.
The 34-year-old, who played 81 times for his country, rejected a call-up by Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson due to his ‘pre-planned’ fitness schedule.
And now after a stellar season for United in which he was included in the PFA Team of the Year, Ferdinand believes there is enough young talent to take up his mantle.
“After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right to retire from international football,” said Ferdinand, who last played for England in June 2011.
“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 and the team all the best for future tournaments.”
Ferdinand has played in three World Cups and briefly gained the Three Lions captaincy from John Terry under Fabio Capello.
But without playing, Ferdinand has endured a turbulent relationship with the England support recently – during a qualifying match against San Marino, the defender was reportedly the subject of abusive chanting.
Picture courtesy of Илья Хохлов, via Wiki Commons, with thanks.