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 has confirmed.

The 34-year-old 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," he said. "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. I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments.

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 and captaining the team on seven occasions.

"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."