Rio will answer England call - Ferguson
Published 16/03/2013 | 20:06
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that defender Rio Ferdinand will join up with the England squad on Monday.
The 34-year-old earned his first England call-up under manager Roy Hodgson for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro later this month. There were reports on Saturday morning that Ferdinand could yet turn down the chance to represent his country again, either in response to being left out by Hodgson until now or in order to prolong his club career.
However, Ferguson - asked on Saturday night if the defender would be joining up with England on Monday - told ESPN: "Yes."
Hodgson cited "footballing reasons" for Ferdinand's exclusion in his squad for the Euro 2012 finals and he has remained out of his plans until now.
Ferdinand impressed in the Barclays Premier League match against Reading, setting up the only goal of United's 1-0 Old Trafford win for Wayne Rooney.
Ferguson, who reported no casualties following a win which extends his team's lead at the top of the table to 15 points, was pleased with Ferdinand's contribution.
He said: "Rio has always had the ability to break into midfield. He doesn't do it as much as he used to but he did today and got us a goal. Most of the time this season we've played well. The performance today doesn't reflect the 15 points ahead we are.
"I thought some of Reading's football was quite good but they didn't really make any chances. I expected danger from set-piece play but we did defend quite well."
Ferguson acknowledged the deflection which Rooney's shot got off Reading defender Alex Pearce helped his team.
He added on ESPN: "I don't know if the goalkeeper would have saved it or not but it was a bad deflection and went over his head."