Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand defends Qatar trip

 

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand has defended his decision to fly to Qatar to work as a television pundit for England's game against San Marino. 

The 34-year-old defender has been plagued by injuries over the past few years and withdrew from England's squad for their two World Cup qualifiers.

Rio Ferdinand's England career

  • 1997: Makes England debut v Cameroon at Wembley
  • 1998: Named in squad for 1998 World Cup finals but does not play
  • 2000: Left out of Euro 2000 squad
  • 2002: Scores first England goal in 3-0 win over Denmark at 2002 World Cup
  • 2004: Banned for eight months after missing a drugs test
  • 2006: Plays five games at World Cup in Germany
  • 2008: Captains England for first time in defeat by France in March - loses out to John Terry in battle for permanent skipper role
  • 2010: Terry is stripped of captaincy and Ferdinand is given the armband but injury rules him out of the 2010 World Cup
  • 2011: Makes his 81st appearance in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland

He said a "pre-planned programme" was his reason for pulling out.

"No different from what I did in the last 10 day international break...thank you guys," Ferdinand wrote on Twitter. 

Ferdinand, who has 81 caps, has attracted criticism for his decision to fly to Doha to be part of Al Jazeera's broadcast of the game.

"Haters are gonna hate...also assume everything...although it must be the gospel truth based on assumptions," Ferdinand added.

"I've flown out for some pre-planned downtime...with a bit of punditry thrown in for a game I would have watched anyway."

Ferdinand last played for England in June 2011, with England manager Roy Hodgson continually stating he was leaving Ferdinand out for "footballing reasons".

But he was given a route back into the set up by Hodgson last week when he was named in the squad to face San Marino and Montenegro.