Ferdinand focused on club future

Rio Ferdinand insists he is not thinking about England - even though he has opted not to confirm his international retirement.

Football News: Rio Ferdinand

The Manchester United defender was left out of Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad for what the manager described as "footballing reasons" and was also controversially overlooked following an injury to Gary Cahill, with Hodgson calling up Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly instead.

Ferdinand's representative Jamie Moralee accused Hodgson of showing the 33-year-old "a total lack of respect", amid a widespread belief that John Terry's inclusion had effectively meant his long-time defensive partner could not be picked as well, because of the racism allegation against Terry from Rio's brother Anton. Terry was last week found not guilty of a racially-aggravated public order offence.

Hodgson subsequently denied that motive and insisted he felt Ferdinand had not played enough games, even though he made only one fewer Premier League appearance than Terry.

It did seem to signal the death knell for Ferdinand's international career though.

Even with Terry's own future open to doubt as the Football Association ponder whether to charge the Chelsea skipper over the foul language so well documented in his recent court case, Ferdinand's United team-mates Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both offer plausible alternatives in central defence.

In addition, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka could also come in, whilst Joleon Lescott enhanced his own reputation in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Deep down, Ferdinand must realise the chances of him adding to his present tally of 81 caps is slim.

He will not rule it out though, even if his thoughts are more concerned with United.

"My answer's the same as last season," he said.

"Manchester United is at the forefront of my mind. It's my club and this is what I love doing.

"If anything else comes of it, so be it.

"But I don't think about anything else except for playing for Manchester United and hopefully winning back the league."

The big positive for Ferdinand last term was that he made more league appearances than at any point since 2008, when his well-publicised back problems first started flaring up.

Through a variety of methods, including standing for extended periods on plane journeys and early diagnosis, the Londoner has managed to keep his absences to a minimum.

And, with Nemanja Vidic easing his way back after cruciate surgery, it is clear Ferdinand still has a huge role to play for the Old Trafford outfit this season.

"It has been well documented I had injuries over the last few seasons," he said.

"Last season, thanks to the physios and sports science team at United, I felt I managed my back really well. They helped me through.

"Long may that continue because I would like to play a similar amount of games this season."

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