Sol Campbell backs Rio Ferdinand to enjoy an international future

Ferdinand pulled out of the England squad amid fitness concerns

Sol Campbell has defended Rio Ferdinand's decision to withdraw from the England squad, and believes the Manchester United defender still has an international future.

Ferdinand, 34, had been included in Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, but withdrew to follow a pre-planned fitness routine designed to help him manage his long-standing back problems.

Ferdinand was widely criticised for his withdrawal, and he received further flak when he flew to Doha to be a pundit on Al Jazeera's coverage of the San Marino fixture.

But former England, Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle defender Campbell has leapt to the defence of his former team-mate.

He said: "I know what Rio is going through because international football does take a lot out of you.

"If you have a regime, a way of playing and a routine then playing for your country requires a lot more effort.

"If you are in a routine and happy with that and then you are looking to play another game it can be demanding on the body.

"Playing for England can put a lot of demands on your body. And then you have to get back and play for your club.

"If you haven't put that into your routine and no-one has told you that they are thinking about putting you in a month ago then it's hard to put it in."

And Campbell does not believe the current furore marks the end of Ferdinand's England career.

"He (Rio) said he would love to be involved in the next one," he added.

"It's just a crucial moment for England and Manchester United so it's a difficult for him to decide. It's physical. International football and the travelling is demanding.

"People need to talk and work it out. I think it was just a shock to Rio because he was thinking, 'Well, I haven't got a chance and then all of a sudden with a few injuries he had a chance.' It was surprising."

Campbell was speaking after watching Wales train ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Croatia, as part of completing his coaching badges.

He said: "Watching Wales train is all part of the learning process.

"I'm doing my B licence and I finish around June time and then I will start on my A badge.

"I'll know in three years time if coaching is something for me in the long-term."

You can also follow all the action from tonight's game on The Independent with our live blog by clicking here.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence