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Rio Ferdinand retires from international football

The seven-time captain last represented England in June 2011, missing out on the Euro 2012 squad due to "footballing reasons" before rejecting a call-up in March 2013

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from international football, the Football Association have confirmed.

The 34-year-old, who revealed on Monday that he hopes to earn a new contract at Old Trafford, won the last of his 81 caps against Switzerland at Wembley in June 2011 in a Euro 2012 qualifier and now wants to concentrate on his club career.

Ferdinand is yet to feature under Roy Hodgson following his exclusion from the Euros squad for "footballing reasons", before rejecting a call-up in March to face San Marino and Montenegro in a World Cup 2014 qualification double-header.

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

"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 Under-17s upwards. I have always been very proud to play for England."

Ferdinand's absence from the England squad heading to Euro 2012 was widely thought to be impacted by the inclusion of Chelsea defender John Terry, who awaited trial over allegations he racially abused Ferdinand's brother Anton.

Terry was subsequently cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court following the tournament, but was later found guilty by the Football Association.

"It is important to pay tribute to someone of Rio’s stature and the achievements he had in a senior international career with England over 14 years at the highest level," Hodgson added.

"To have captained his country, to play at three World Cups and indeed score in one of those, marks him out amongst a very special group of players."

Ferdinand became England's youngest ever defender when he made his debut against Cameroon at the age of 19 years and eight days old, and went on to represent his country at three World Cups, captaining the team on seven occasions.

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