Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand retires from international football

Christopher Furlong

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has retired from international football after amassing 81 caps for England.

Rio Ferdinand has retired from international football after the Manchester United defender decided to call time on his England career after picking up 81 caps for the national side.

"At the age of 34, 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," said the defender.

Ferdinand added, "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. A big thank you to all the fans, managers, coaching staff and players that I have worked alongside - the journey has been incredible."

Ferdinand's contract at Manchester United expires at the end of the season, although he has implied that he would like to stay on at the club, who will appoint David Moyes as the new manager on July 1st.

Ferdinand has not played for England since 2011 after finding himself cast aside by England, and pulled out of the squad in March when he was called up for international qualifiers.

England boss Roy Hodgson was quick to pay tribute to the 34-year-old, saying: "It is important to pay tribute to someone of Rio's stature and the achievements he had in a senior international career with England over 14 years at the highest level. To have captained his country, to play at three World Cups and indeed score in one of those, marks him out amongst a very special group of players.

"I appreciated the call from Rio to inform me of his decision, which clearly he had spent much time considering before reaching this point. I wish him all the best in his club career, and I'm sure the former managers he played under and every England fan will join me in thanking him for his service."

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