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Mar 18, 2013

Rio Ferdinand out of England squad

Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro as he manages his fitness, Roy Hodgson announced Monday.

But the Manchester United defender, who earned his first call-up under manager Hodgson for the double header and was due to join up with the squad Monday, said he wants to continue his international career.

"I'm disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow it's not possible," said Hodgson, who met Ferdinand in London Sunday.

Ferdinand tweeted Monday: "I'm Gutted I had to pull out of england squad, but it was the right decision for my intricate pre-planned programme."

Tottenham defender Steven Caulker, originally in the Under-21 squad, has been called up as a replacement.

"I was pleased that Rio called and asked to meet with me. It was important to hear from him personally about the way he must manage his body between games," Hodgson said. "This is not to say he cannot play back-to-back games -- he can and has proven so.

"He's out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his programme.

"I must place on record how I was impressed with his commitment to playing for England and I look forward to hopefully selecting him for squads in the future."

The last of Ferdinand's 81 England caps came in a Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Switzerland in June 2011.

"It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation, and one thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever," Ferdinand said.

"It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future."

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