Ferdinand joins World Cup pundit team

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand will be a pundit for the BBC at next year's World Cup, the corporation has announced.

Manchester United's English defender Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand retired from international football in May 2012 after winning 81 caps.

Ferdinand pulled out of England's qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro in March because of a "pre-planned fitness programme".

Ferdinand then decided to be a pundit for the San Marino game for Al Jazeera, flying out to the company's base in Qatar to do so.

Ferdinand claimed earlier this year that England lack an identity and he criticised manager Roy Hodgson for not fielding younger players during Euro 2012.

BBC presenter Gary Lineker expects Ferdinand to pull no punches in his new role.

The former England striker said: "Rio has a reputation for telling it how it is and I'm sure audiences will look forward to hearing his opinions and insight in the studio.

"He is a fine footballer with a proven track record and has played with and against some of the top internationals who will be at the World Cup. We're already incredibly proud of our BBC team and we're delighted to add Rio to our line-up."

Ferdinand says he will be "cheering England on" next summer, and is looking forward to the tournament.

He said: "I can't wait to be involved in the BBC's coverage, both as a studio pundit and with all the other exciting opportunities we're working on," said the Manchester United centre-half, who was selected in four World Cup squads.

"I really want to provide a different sort of insight and analysis, sharing my experiences of what it is like to be an England footballer at a major tournament."

Ferdinand will front a documentary, and engage with fans via social media during the tournament, which kicks off in June.

Manchester United coach Phil Neville and former England forward Alan Shearer will also be pundits during the tournament, the BBC said.

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