Frank Lampard says Rio Ferdinand is "certainly not finished" playing for England, despite withdrawing from Roy Hodgson’s squad earlier this week.
Ferdinand was selected for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro but pulled out due to the very specific fitness program he is currently on.
The 34-year-old defender told Hodgson that he still wants to be kept in mind for future England squads and Lampard thinks that Ferdinand is playing well enough to feature again for the national team.
Lampard told reporters: “He's a top-drawer player Rio, and he's certainly not finished. Looking at his performances against [Real] Madrid, especially away, he was outstanding.
“Regular performances week-in and week-out, he's a top performer, has been and still is. I don't know the ins and outs of his future but the way he's playing at the minute he one of the top defenders in the Premier League for sure.
“We're losing a player of quality. As I said, now it's very important that the squad gets the results that it needs so there are no personal issues - it's about all of the team.”
The Chelsea veteran believes his former West Ham teammate is correct to want to take extra care of himself as his career draws to a close.
He added: “Being one of the older lads, once you pass 30 years of age you have to manage yourself differently, maintain yourself, train more, train less, rest periods... particularly lads who have picked up injuries.
“I know Rio picked up a few injuries earlier in his career and he's been very disciplined in keeping on top of himself to make sure he gets the most out of his career, so a lot of respect for that, and everyone is different.”