Rio's Qatar trip 'does not bother me one bit', states Sir Alex Ferguson

The defender took a 15-hour flight to the Middle East to work as a television pundit for England's game against San Marino, but his club boss does not see it as a problem
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists he is "not bothered" by Rio Ferdinand's controversial trip to Qatar.

Ferdinand attracted criticism for doing television work in the Arab state during England's match against San Marino, a game that the defender pulled out of citing fitness concerns, but Ferguson is not worried by the trip in the slightest.

"I was only catching up on a couple of things over the last couple of days and to be honest it doesn't bother me one bit," he told reporters.

"They had the weekend off and players are entitled to do what they want. They trained all last week and we gave them Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. He has his own choice with these things."

And Sir Alex is satisfied that the issue has been put to bed after the United centre-back visited England coach Roy Hodgson to explain his reasons for pulling out of the squad.

"He did the right thing to go down and see Roy," he added. "I encouraged him to go down and do it face to face. He needed to explain how we handle him now and how he prepares for games. I think Roy appreciated that."

But while Hodgson suggested that there will need to be talks between the Football Association and United before Ferdinand is considered again, the United boss is not convinced.

"I don't think there is any need," he said. "Roy phoned me and I said he would need to speak to Rio for what his reaction is.

"The matter was put to rest when Rio went to see him."