Ferdinand stands by decision

  • Last Updated: March 22 2013, 23:24 GMT

Rio Ferdinand has stood by his decision to fly to Qatar after pulling out of the England squad earlier this week as he manages his fitness.

Rio Ferdinand: Stands by his decision
Rio Ferdinand: Stands by his decision

Rio Ferdinand

5. Rio Ferdinand

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The Manchester United defender was called up to the national team for the first time by Roy Hodgson but turned down the chance to add to his 81 caps in order to adhere to a detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he follows.

Ferdinand was then criticised in some quarters after it emerged he was flying to Doha to appear as a pundit for Al Jazeera Sport television for the San Marino match.

Going to the Gulf state would involve a 15-hour round trip and one that seems ill-advised given United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has repeatedly spoken of Ferdinand's battle to overcome a long-standing back injury.

However, the 34-year-old once again defended his decision.

He said on Al Jazeera Sport: "I met the boss in London and we spoke about my regime and (I'm doing) what I've done at the last few international breaks - the same.

"I was pencilled in to have certain treatments, had them and then I've come away to have some rest time and to recuperate and get myself ready.

"I think obviously the situation with myself and the national team is well documented.

"But this isn't something that I'm doing differently. This is something I've done in past international get-togethers when I've not been involved.

"I've had a course of treatment that I've had to have and then to go and rest and get ready and recuperate - and that's what I've continued to do."

Ferdinand added he cleared the trip with United before flying out.

"I spoke to the club and the club doctors and the physios who have helped me organise the regime that I'm on. But ultimately it was spelled out for us anyway," he said.

Ferdinand has not given up hope of appearing for England in the future and revealed he is still very much a part of Hodgson's plans.

"He made it very clear that he'll consider me for the next squads and that will be fantastic," he said.

"Obviously we've got to get the game against Montenegro out of the way.

"We need to win that and try and be successful there and then hopefully we can look forward to a good summer if we're successful against Montenegro."

Ferdinand was openly critical of San Marino after watching England romp to an 8-0 win in Serravalle and would be in support of competition minnows having a pre-qualifier tournament to have the right of competing against larger nations.

"I think it takes the quality of the competition down and I think it's not doing the fans any favours. The fans want to see competitive games," he said.

"The players want to play competitive games and if the countries aren't good enough, evidently enough on today's performance and past performances, teams of this quality - San Marino, the Faroe Islands - aren't anywhere near the right quality to perform at this level.

"So yeah I think they should have to do a qualifying campaign to get into this stage."

The centre-back turned his attention to United and admitted being dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Real Madrid was tough to take.

He is keen to move on, however, and channel his frustrations in the league and cup as they chase a domestic double.

"It's such a big game and it can take a while to get over a result like that," Ferdinand added.

"But you have to be professional. You have to move on and we've done that and we've got a league to try and win and a cup to try and win.

"We want to be successful. The league is the most important thing for me. We need to win the league and be the best team in our country and then the cups come after that and the FA Cup has got great tradition.

"I haven't won it yet, it's the only thing that I haven't won. So I'd love to get one and have the full set which would be great and this season we've got a great opportunity to do that."

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