Sir Alex Ferguson urges Ferdinand to quit England to prolong his Manchester United career

The Scot insisted that if the 33-year-old central defender would be better served retiring from international duty in order to prolong his club career
Sir Alex Ferguson has believes the time is right for Rio Ferdinand to turn his back on England and concentrate on prolonging his Manchester United career.

John Terry announced  his own international retirement last week and has left a vacancy in the Three Lions' defence that Ferdinand, who was snubbed for Euro 2012 selection by Roy Hodgson, is understood to have designs on filling.

The likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have played on well into their late 30s as a consequence of retiring early from international football, and Ferguson believes 33-year-old Ferdinand should follow the example of his fellow club stalwarts.

"He [Ferdinand] could do the job for England, I have no doubt about that," Ferguson told reporters. "But I don’t see why he should. I think he should concentrate on his career here.

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"I would prefer that, though I wouldn’t stand in his way. It is his ­decision. But I don’t think it is actually correct that he wants to play for England again."

Ferdinand has been beset by injuries in recent seasons and the cumulative effects of back and knee problems has had a detrimental impact on the pace that once marked him out as one of Europe's finest defenders.

A severe lack of pace was brutally exposed by Gareth Bale in the build-up to Tottenham's second goal during Saturday dramatic 3-2 win at Old Trafford - Spurs' first at that ground since 1989 - and Ferguson admits it's up to him to manage Ferdinand's workload accordingly.

"When he first started with the back problems, he was out for longer periods," Ferguson said. "Now, we just take care in the training. He is doing yoga and all these things are contributing to his being fit and that’s good.

"He uses his experience now. Six or seven years ago, he had such a great change of pace he used to leave it almost until the last second to turn on the gas and get there.

"Now, he can’t do that. As everyone else, they lose their pace as they get older and he is using his experience to compensate for that. He is not taking any chances now."