Former England centre-back Gareth Southgate believes Rio Ferdinand’s international experience will be a welcomed addition to the Three Lions’ back-four.
Roy Hodgson made a surprised U-turn this week by announcing the Manchester United stalwart in the England squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, despite leaving him out of the Euro 2012 squad due to ‘footballing reasons’.
Ferdinand has 81 England caps to his name but has not made an appearance since his Euro omission, and former Middlesbrough defender Southgate told talkSPORT that Ferdinand’s presence will help England’s more youthful defenders and aid their development on the international stage.
“I’m glad he’s been called up,” he told Adrian Durham on Matchday Live.
“It’s great that England want to bring young players through, but those young players still need a bit of experience around them.
“That’s where someone like Steven Gerrard has been terrific over the last year in particular.
“And if you look at the back-four, there isn’t an enormous amount of international experience there and somebody like Rio can have a really positive impact.
“He’s playing every week for Manchester United and they’re top of the league, so he’s definitely got the quality."