Alex Ferguson backs Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012

 

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012 selection.

New England boss Roy Hodgson has stated his intention to speak with Ferdinand to see whether he would be willing to play alongside long-time central defensive partner John Terry in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

The early indications are that Ferdinand would accept.

However, as the 33-year-old has not featured for his country since the Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland last June, there is some doubt as to whether Ferdinand would have been picked under previous coach Fabio Capello.

Ferguson acknowledges Ferdinand has not often been asked to play more than one game a week this term.

However, long-standing back problems appear to have been overcome enough for the former West Ham star to feature regularly once more.

And both his form and experience lead Ferguson to conclude Ferdinand would be a valuable member of Hodgson's squad.

"He has done fantastic this season," said the United boss.

"There was a period where I played him in three games in seven days from the end of January but apart from that it has been every seven days.

"He has coped very well and has had a fantastic season.

"I don't know if Roy's thinking about the situation because I haven't spoken to him but experience is going to be important in the European Championships.

"I think Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should go but they have not played a lot of football this season in terms of centre-back play, so you go back to what you are left with.

"You have John Terry and Rio Ferdinand and Gary Cahill. Then you have Jones and Smalling.

"There is not a lot after that."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has expressed some surprise at the appointment of Hodgson as England manager, if only because the FA did not bow to what he felt was a media campaign for Harry Redknapp to get the job.

"The surprise for me was that for the first time I can remember, the FA didn't bend to the press," he said.

"The press had their own view of Harry. We all supported that.

"Roy, as everyone has pointed out, has fantastic experience. He is a good man and has the right profile for the job in every respect.

"You can't beat experience. I have always said that for that England job you need to be in your 60s.

"You need to go into it with all the experience behind you in the sense of do you really need club football when, at that age, you could be managing your national team.

"I always said Jock Stein was the perfect age for managing Scotland. He had all that experience of managing Celtic. Roy has all that experience behind him.

"I hope he does well."

PA

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