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18/03/2013 10:35

Papers: Roy needs Rio

Richard Tanner writes in Daily Express...
Rio Ferdinand's importance to England was underlined as Roy Hodgson’s defensive options were further reduced ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro. Tottenham’s Michael Dawson damaged his hamstring in the 1-0 defeat by Fulham yesterday and withdrew from Hodgson’s squad, along with club-mate Aaron Lennon, who has an adductor problem, while Gary Cahill will be assessed after picking up a knee injury in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West Ham... Ferdinand’s decision to accept Hodgson’s olive branch, having been previously marginalised, is now all the more crucial with the inexperienced Chris Smalling the only other centre-back alternative. Hodgson has reassured Ferdinand that he can follow his normal training regime to ensure his chronic back condition does not flare up and rule him out of Manchester United’s bid for the double. England’s priority is ensuring his fitness for next week’s vital match.

Rio's presence at the One Direction concert in Manchester on Saturday night also attracts column inches, after he was pictured with singer Harry Styles at the venue.

Nemanja Vidic's post-match interview with MUTV is repurposed by the Daily Mail, with the Serbian centre-back claiming he wants to win this season's title by a record margin. "‘Fifteen points is a big gap and we shouldn’t let that change," he said. "We have the title in our hands but we still have games to play, some tough ones. Nothing is finished but we are in a good position."

More: Sir Alex - We won't be complacent | United 1 Reading 1

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