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The centre-back's defensive partner for Manchester United is happy for his team-mate, but is concerned at what effect the heavy fixture schedule could have on the 34-year-old

Nemanja Vidic has congratulated his fellow Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand on his return to the England squad, insisting he "deserves the call".

The defender has not played for the Three Lions since being excluded from Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad, with many assuming it was to avoid a clash with John Terry who was being investigated over accusations of racism towards Anton Ferdinand at the time.

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The former England captain is widely expected to start the World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Montenegro, having been joined in the squad by Gary Cahill, United team-mate Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott.

"It's good for Rio," Vidic told reporters. "He deserves the call, he has played well this season and can help the national team."

Vidic, however, went on to echo concerns voiced by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson over the subsequent short space of time between international and domestic commitments in light of Ferdinand’s recent troubles with injuries.

England face San Marino at Serravalle Stadium on March 22 then travel to Montenegro four days later for a potential Group H decider. Manchester United then face a lunchtime kick-off away to Sunderland March 30.

He commented: "He would have two international games, then when he comes back we have two games in three days in the Premier League and FA Cup.

"Can he play all of these games? All I can say is that I hope he does well."

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