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Rio Ferdinand defends 15-hour round trip to Qatar

Rio Ferdinand has defended his decision to fly to Qatar to be a TV pundit for England’s match against San Marino despite having to withdraw from the squad through injury.

The Manchester United defender has flown to Doha, which is a 15-hour round trip, to work as a pundit for Al Jazeera as they present live coverage of the game, according to the Daily Mail.

The 34-year-old - who suffers from a chronic back problem - announced his decision to withdraw from the squad on Monday due to his “intricate pre-planned programme”.

Ferdinand was quick to defend his decision on Twitter: