Sir Alex Ferguson happy at Rio Ferdinand's England omission

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand's omission from the England squad will benefit Manchester United.

Ferdinand, 33, was not included in Roy Hodgson's squad despite John Terry retiring from international football.

Hodgson has apologised to Ferdinand for discussing the defender's future during a journey on the London underground but Ferguson is happy with the situation.

"I'm happy because at his age Ferdinand should be protecting himself as best he can," said United boss Ferguson.

"Hopefully by doing that he will be far more important to me than England."

Ferdinand has 81 caps for his country but was not selected for Euro 2012 for "football reasons", according to Hodgson.

Terry, 31, who was selected for the finals in Poland and Ukraine, had been charged with racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton during a Premier League match between QPR and Chelsea last October.

In July, Terry was cleared of the charge at Westminster Magistrates' Court but last month a Football Association hearing found Terry guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand, banning him for four games and issuing a £220,000 fine.

Meanwhile, Ferguson will be boosted by the news that Chris Smalling could soon be back in action after five months out with injuries.

The 22-year-old centre-back suffered a groin problem in May, which ruled him out of Euro 2012, before needing surgery on a broken metatarsal in July.