FOOTBALL NEWS

15/05/2013 07:00, Report by Ben Hibbs

Rio retires from internationals

Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that he will retire from England duty to concentrate on his club career and allow younger players to come through the ranks at international level.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the 34-year-old Manchester United defender said: "After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football.

"At the age of 34, I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career. The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks which bodes well for the future."

Ferdinand became England's youngest ever defender when he made his debut against Cameroon at Wembley in 1997, a week after his 19th birthday. And the London-born centre-back went on to represent his country at three World Cups and earned 81 England caps. 

"I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from under-17s upwards," Rio added. "I have always been very proud to play for England.

"I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments. A big thank you to all the fans, managers, coaching staff and players that I have worked alongside - the journey has been incredible."

More: Ferdinand profile | Rio: We'll honour Sir Alex

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