Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson questions the need for international friendlies

Remarks come after England manager Roy Hodgson claimed his efforts were being undermined by clubs

Sir Alex Ferguson has questioned the point of international friendlies in a move that threatens to widen the divisions between clubs and the England set-up.

In his remarks, the Manchester United manager went as far as to suggest players should not have to make themselves available for international friendlies.

Ferguson's comments came in response to Roy Hodgson's claim that his efforts were bring undermined by club managers.

Speaking at the Soccerex football business conference yesterday, the England boss suggested international breaks were an opportunity for players to take a holiday.

"I would like to see the international break being taken seriously," he said. "I'd still like to see it as a time when players go to play for their international teams. These breaks are being seen as the 10-day break that players don't always get during the season."

Ferguson responded to Hodgson's comments today by expressing his long-held scepticism of friendly dates.

"Look at the opposite side," he said. "International football interferes with the clubs' ambitions.

"Friendly games for a start. They have been doing it for the last decade, playing a friendly in the week before the season starts.

"Tell me the sense of that.

The United manager said he was unable to see an end to divisions between club and national sides and went on to suggest that players should not have to make themselves available for non-competitive matches.

"It doesn't matter what way you look at it. Club managers are always in disagreement with international football, particularly in friendly situations," he said today.

"I have no issues at all about the competitive part. The players should always be available for the European Championship and the World Cup.

"But you can't tell me that should apply itself in friendly games."

Ferguson also welcomed the introduction of goal-line technology, which was confirmed by the Premier League yesterday.

"Progress is progress. It had to happen," he said. "It should be applauded. When you are continually trying to progress your football, it is for the betterment of the game.

"Other sports have been doing it for a long time - and I think it was time football did catch up."

Comments