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Mar 14, 2013

Ferdinand recalled to England squad

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been recalled to the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

England manager Roy Hodgson has previously overlooked Ferdinand, 34, for what he infamously described as "football reasons", but has named the defender in his latest squad ahead of the forthcoming qualifiers.

The United centre-back has not represented his nation since June 2011, when he earned his 81st cap against Switzerland, although he has made it clear he is available for selection.

Hodgson gave a strong hint that Ferdinand could have a prominent role to play in the double-header coming up, and possibly beyond.

He said at his press conference: "A player of Rio's calibre and also of Rio's age, you don't bring them into a squad as back-ups, you bring them into the squad or the team because you want them to make the team better, to give you a better chance of winning.

"So it wouldn't take too much guesswork to work out that he's in the squad in order to play rather than to make up the numbers.

"Like all players you select, you select them because you think they're capable of doing the job you want them to do. But who knows what the future holds? 2014 is still a long way off and if Rio is still going the way he is at the moment, in 2014 he is going to be a major candidate for the squad.

"He has been playing well and his team have been playing extremely well. I think this is the moment to select him because he certainly deserves it on current form."

Ferdinand is among Hodgson's 26-man squad for when the Three Lions face San Marino and Montenegro in their World Cup qualifiers on March 22 and 26 respectively.

Scott Parker and Michael Dawson have also been called upon, the former having returned to full fitness following an Achilles problem while his Tottenham team-mate has impressed in the heart of Spurs' defence.

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster is back among the international fold following impressive form for his club, having not played for England since November 2010.

England are currently second in Group H after four games, having won two and drawn as many of their qualifiers so far, with Montenegro top of the standings by two points.

Goalkeepers: Ben Foster , Joe Hart, Fraser Forster.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand , Glen Johnson, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Leon Osman, Scott Parker , Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young.

Forwards: Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Welbeck.

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