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Rio Ferdinand Recalled By England Manager Roy Hodgson

14/03/2013 15:00 GMT | Updated 14/03/2013 15:30 GMT

Rio Ferdinand has been recalled to the England squad by Roy Hodgson nearly two years after he won his last cap.

The 34-year-old has arguably been the best English centre-back in the Premier League this season, and injuries to Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones made a comeback inevitable.

Ben Foster returns to the squad after ending his international exile while Tottenham Michael Dawson and Scott Parker have been recalled.

Ferdinand has not played for England since he partnered John Terry in a 2-2 Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June 2011.

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Ferdinand's last England game came alongside John Terry

It will be the first time he has linked up with Hodgson since the former West Brom coach's appointment last year and ends the tension between the pair.

"I've been following Rio for a long time now, he's playing well and his team are playing well and he deserves it," Hodgson said.

"I'm convinced he can help us win these two matches. You bring players like Rio in to make the team better and give you a better chance.

"There were no sinister reasons behind his [Ferdinand's] selection, or non-selection, in the past."

Hodgson expressed his annoyance at questions regarding Ferdinand's future with the national team last month, while FA chairman David Bernstein described the England coach's omission of Ferdinand as a "historical, extraneous issue" during Euro 2012 after one-cap rookie Martin Kelly was called up.

Hodgson maintained Ferdinand's absence was due to "football reasons" but after Kelly's promotion Ferdinand tweeted: "What reasons?????!!!" The issue of John Terry's imminent court appearance, after he was accused of calling Ferdinand's brother a "f*****g black c**t", fuelled Ferdinand's scepticism when the Chelsea captain travelled to Poland and Ukraine.

Since then, Terry has retired from international football and was suspended by the Football Association for four matches for racially insulting Anton Ferdinand.

It had been suggested Ferdinand's age is why he has not returned to the England fold however the consistent inclusion of 30-somethings Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard is a clear contradiction.

Hodgson said when he announced the Euros squad: "Rio has only played once for England in the last year. It was purely a footballing decision and a very hard phone call to make."

Gerrard, appointed captain "on merit", had played just 33 minutess for England in 19 months at the time of that quote, and the latest squad boasts seven 30-somethings.

An England debutant at 19 years and eight days, Ferdinand has played at two World Cups for the Three Lions.

ENGLAND SQUAD FOR QUALIFIERS VS SAN MARINO AND MONTENEGRO

Goalkeepers: Ben Foster , Joe Hart, Fraser Forster.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand , Glen Johnson, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Leon Osman, Scott Parker , Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young.

Forwards: Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Welbeck.