The Manchester United centre-half has called time on his international career after 81 appearances with the 34-year-old citing a desire to focus on his club career as an over-riding factor.
Ferdinand has formed a key part of the England defence in recent years, establishing partnerships with first Sol Campbell and, perhaps most famously, John Terry.
The former West Ham man was due to captain his country at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa only to suffer a knee injury in training which ruled him out of the tournament.
Carragher appeared in the first two games of that tournament and is in no doubt he would have significantly more than his 38 caps had Ferdinand not been around.
The 35-year-old, who retires at the end of this season, said: "If he'd retired years ago I might have got a few more games!
"He has been a great player.
"He's a similar age to me so it was always going to come up (competition for places) at one time or another.
"He and John Terry were the cornerstones of the England side for 10 years - which made it difficult for me to get in - but two great players and I wish him well."
Roy Hodgson is due to name his England squad for the friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil on Thursday and it was thought Ferdinand had a chance of being involved despite the furore that accompanied his withdrawal in March.
The defender was recalled for crucial World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, only to withdraw citing an "intricate and pre-planned training regime".
Danny Mills played with Ferdinand both for Leeds and England and the former full-back believes the withdrawal earlier this year will have played a big part in his decision.
"I don't think it's a great surprise after what happened last time," Mills told Sky Sports News.
"Rio obviously wanted to be in the squads then realised with all his rehabilitation, he wasn't going to be able to play back-to-back games.
"That effectively ruled him out of anymore double headers if you like and possibly also ruled him out of tournament football for England.
"He possibly would have made himself available for the next friendlies and the games in the summer but he's probably looked at it and thought actually, after what happened last time, the chances are Roy Hodgson may not select him.
"So maybe Rio has done the right thing, has retired before there is a chance that he doesn't get selected."
Harry Redknapp was the man who signed Ferdinand as a youngster at Upton Park and was his manager when he made his England debut in 1997.
Ferdinand left east London for Elland Road in 2000 and moved to Old Trafford less than two years later but Redknapp has revealed that the Barclays Premier League champions were making enquiries long before that.
"I loaned him to Bournemouth and Man United came in," the QPR manager told talkSPORT.
"(Chairman) Martin Edwards rang Bournemouth football club, he rang Mel Machin who was the manager and asked Mel how much he wanted for the young centre-half.
"They'd seen him play on the Saturday at Rochdale or somewhere and Mel said 'well he's only on loan, he belongs to West Ham'. Martin Edwards didn't realise that.
"He came on and wanted to buy him and I said 'he hasn't got a price, he'll be the best defender in Europe one day'.
"Eventually he ended up a Man Utd but for an awful lot of money."
He added: "We knew from day one he was going to be a special player.
"He was lightning quick and graceful on the ball.
"He had everything."
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, who was at West Ham at the same time as Ferdinand, believes he broke the mould of the classic English centre-half.
"He was fantastic footballer, still is," said the Italian.
"His touch is good, he's a playmaker at the back, like if you got Andrea Pirlo in the middle.
"He was new generation of English footballer. Before there was (Martin) Keown, (Tony) Adams. He was the new generation that came out with more international reading, brain and touch. It was clear at West Ham already. Clear why he became one of the best."