Rio Ferdinand announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday.

The Manchester United centre-back earned 81 caps but hasn’t played for his country under manager Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson left him out of the Euro 2012 squad “for football reasons” although many wondered if he was seeking to avoid confrontation between Ferdinand and John Terry, who was subsequently found guilty of racially abusing his brother.

Ferdinand turned down a recall for the World Cup qualifiers in March, insisting it would interfere with his back injury prevention work. He then flew to Qatar to fulfil television commitments.

“After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football,” said Ferdinand.

“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.

I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from U17s upwards. 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.”

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