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The former Thee Lions defender explains how he had to quit international football to further his playing career, suffering "dark days" as he worried about his future

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed that a "depressive state" prompted him to withdraw from England contention.

The centre-back was called up to the Three Lions squad to face San Marino and Montenegro in March but turned down the chance to represent his country as part of a strict rehabilitation programme.

The 34-year-old was criticised heavily for the snub but Ferdinand has now explained that there was more to it than what was reported at the time.

"It is only now I can talk about what I was really going through," he told The Sun.

"I was trying to put a brave face on it but of course I was worried about the future. Two or three years ago people were saying I was finished and I remember those dark days. I was in a depressive state. I will admit that.

"I couldn't even go in the garden and have a little kickabout with the kids. It was embarrassing. I couldn't pick them up and put them on my shoulders because of the pain."

Ferdinand represented England 81 times over a 14 year international career, scoring three goals.

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