Sir Alex Ferguson backs Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand to be part of England's Euro 2012 squad.

Ferguson said Ferdinand's "fantastic season" made his inclusion essential, adding "experience is going to be important" at the tournament.

The 33-year-old has not featured for his country since the qualifier against Switzerland last June.

New England boss Roy Hodgson has said he will speak to Ferdinand about being involved with England.

Following allegations England team-mate John Terry racially abused Ferdinand's brother and QPR defender Anton, the United man said he wanted to "concentrate on playing for Manchester United."

Ferguson said Ferdinand, who has appeared 36 times for United this season after being asked to play one game a week, had overcome back problems and was fit enough to play a part in the tournament.

"He has done fantastic this season [and] has coped very well," Ferguson said.

Ferguson added he thought that fellow United defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should be part of the England squad, but admitted that they had "not played a lot of football this season in terms of centre-back play".

Ferguson revealed he was surprised that Hodgson was given the England job but backed the West Brom boss to do a good job.

"Roy, as everyone has pointed out, has fantastic experience," Ferguson said.

"He is a good man and has the right profile for the job in every respect.

"I have always said that for that England job, you need to be in your 60s.

"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."

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