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Fergie: Rio to join up with Three Lions

Alex Ferguson watched Manchester United tighten their grip on the Premier League title before confirming Rio Ferdinand (below) would join up with England.

Ferguson cast doubt on whether Ferdinand would accept Roy Hodgson's call for the World Cup double-header against San Marino and Montenegro after concern about disruption to the way the 34-year-old prepares for games.

However, after Ferdinand produced another master-class, including setting up Wayne Rooney's winner in Saturday's 1-0 win over Reading, Ferguson confirmed he would report for duty at St George's Park.

"Rio will be joining up," he said.

It is believed Hodgson has spoken to the United boss to offer assurances about how he will be treated, which may see him not play against San Marino.

Ferdinand's performance showed why England want him involved in Podgorica though, as Ferdinand sauntered upfield before slipping a pass to Rooney – whose 21st-minute effort deflected in off Alex Pearce.

"He broke into the midfield very well," said Ferguson.

"He has always been good at that. He doesn't do it as much as he used to of course but today it paid off for us."

United are concerned about the effect the international break could have on their season, considering they travel to Sunderland on March 30 and Chelsea 48 hours later for their FA Cup quarter-final replay.

"We are making arrangements for some players to fly home by privately-hired jet after their matches to make sure they get home as quickly and as smoothly as possible," said Ferguson.


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