Ferdinand was selected by Roy Hodgson for this month’s World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro, the first time he has been called up by the current England boss since he took charge just before Euro 2012.
The move caught Ferguson by surprise given Ferdinand’s long-standing back and fitness issues and the Scot was not convinced a return to the international set-up, at the age of 34, was right for his experienced centre-half.
Ferdinand recently stated that he would love to play for his country again. In addition, there is the likelihood Ferdinand will only be required for the crucial trip to Montenegro on March 26 given Group H whipping boys San Marino are the test next Friday.
Nevertheless, Ferguson is clearly concerned, which is probably understandable given his side face two games in 48 hours immediately after the international break, with their FA Cup replay with Chelsea having to be squeezed into a congested fixture calendar due to the Blues’ Europa League commitments.
Rio’s situation with England and Hodgson has been complicated by the racism row that occurred between his brother — Anton — and former England captain John Terry. Despite the England manager stating that the United defender hasn’t been chosen for nearly two years because of ‘footballing reason’, it was quite clear that there was simply no desire to bring Rio in because of possible factions in the England squad — some players clearly supported the Ferdinand’s while some players were loyal to Terry.
With Terry retired from international duty, and with Rio clearly being the best central-defender that England has at the moment, it would have been more ludicrous than ever for Hodgson not to call him into the squad. If Ferguson had his way, though, he likely would prefer the 34-year-old not go on England duty. However, the decision will likely come down to Rio. The fitness concern is a real one and as the gaffer states, the club has done a magnificent job to keep the defender fit for the past year-and-a-half.