'Rio Ferdinand must be in England's Euro 2012 squad' - Sir Alex Ferguson

Old Trafford supremo believes the veteran's experience will be key during the tournament because youngsters Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have not played much in central defence

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has urged the new England boss Roy Hodgson to take Rio Ferdinand to Euro 2012 this summer.

Ferdinand is an experienced international, racking up 81 appearances and Sir Alex believes his experience could be vital in England’s quest for glory at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Newly appointed national team manager Hodgson confirmed at his official unveiling that he will speak to Ferdinand regarding his availability after being ignored in recent squads under Fabio Capello and Stuart Pearce.

"He [Ferdinand] has done fantastic this season,” Sir Alex told Sky Sports.

"Experience is going to be important in the European Championships.

"I think Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should go but they have not played a lot of football this season in terms of centre-back play, so you go back to what you are left with.

8/1 England are 8/1 with Sportingbet to finish as runners up at Euro 2012.

"You have John Terry and Rio Ferdinand and Gary Cahill. Then you have Jones and Smalling. There is not a lot after that."

Question marks do however remain over the fitness of Ferdinand after the 33-year-old struggled to cope with United’s fixture congestion earlier in the season and his boss admitted he had been careful to give him plenty of rest between matches.

Sir Alex added: "There was a period where I played him in three games in seven days from the end of January but apart from that it has been every seven days."