Ferdinand wins first England call-up from Hodgson

Ferdinand last played for his country in June 2011 Photo: Adam Davy/PA Archive

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has earned his first England call-up under manager Roy Hodgson for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro later this month.

Hodgson cited "footballing reasons" for Ferdinand's exclusion in his squad for the Euro 2012 finals and he has remained out of his plans ever since.

Ferdinand won the last of his 81 caps against Switzerland at Wembley in June 2011 in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

His call-up comes at a time when Phil Jagielka is sidelined with an ankle injury, Joleon Lescott has only a bit-part role at Manchester City and question marks hover over Gary Cahill's form.

Ferdinand, 34, has been in outstanding form for Manchester United this season.

Hodgson gave a strong hint that Ferdinand could have a prominent role to play in the double-header coming up, and possibly beyond.

"A player of Rio's calibre and also of Rio's age, you don't bring them into a squad as back-ups, you bring them into the squad or the team because you want them to make the team better, to give you a better chance of winning.

"So it wouldn't take too much guesswork to work out that he's in the squad in order to play rather than to make up the numbers.

"Like all players you select, you select them because you think they're capable of doing the job you want them to do. But who knows what the future holds? 2014 is still a long way off and if Rio is still going the way he is at the moment, in 2014 he is going to be a major candidate for the squad.

"He has been playing well and his team have been playing extremely well. I think this is the moment to select him because he certainly deserves it on current form."

– Roy Hodgson, England manager

Ferdinand so far hasn't publicly responded to his call-up, but has tweeted saying he's planning a relaxed afternoon.

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Quality training session done! An afternoon nap is on the cards before kids get home and start having me out in the garden doing all sorts!