• World Cup qualifiers

Ferdinand continues to defend Doha trip

ESPN staff
March 22, 2013
Rio Ferdinand says he had Manchester United's backing to make the long journey to Qatar © PA Photos

Rio Ferdinand has launched another defence of his decision to fly to Qatar after opting to pull out of the England squad for fitness reasons.

Ferdinand was selected by Roy Hodgson for England's World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro, but decided to pull out of the squad to stick to his in-depth medical programme, which is contributing to an impressive season at Manchester United.

However, following Ferdinand's withdrawal he then flew to Doha to act as a pundit for a television station. The defender became accused of putting media opportunities ahead of his country, but Ferdinand insists that was not the case.

He said on Al Jazeera Sport: "I met the boss in London and we spoke about my regime and [I'm doing] what I've done at the last few international breaks - the same.

"I was pencilled in to have certain treatments, had them and then I've come away to have some rest time and to recuperate and get myself ready.

"I think obviously the situation with myself and the national team is well documented. But this isn't something that I'm doing differently. This is something I've done in past international get-togethers when I've not been involved.

"I've had a course of treatment that I've had to have and then to go and rest and get ready and recuperate - and that's what I've continued to do."

Ferdinand also revealed he had the backing of United before taking the 15-hour flight. The veteran has long-standing back issues but insists he is not jeopardising his health.

"I spoke to the club and the club doctors and the physios who have helped me organise the regime that I'm on. But ultimately it was spelled out for us anyway," he concluded.

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