Rio Ferdinand Returns To England Squad

Rio Ferdinand Returns To England Squad

Rio Ferdinand has been recalled to the England squad for this month's World Cup qualifying double-header.

Rio Ferdinand Returns To England Squad

The Manchester United centre-half, whose last cap came against Switzerland in June 2011, is among a 26-man squad picked to take on San Marino and Montenegro in Group H.

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster is also named just days after coming out of international retirement, but Ferdinand's inclusion will make the headlines after his England career appeared over.

Roy Hodgson left the player out of his plans for Euro 2012, citing footballing reasons rather than an ongoing court case involving Ferdinand's brother Anton and John Terry.

As recently as February Hodgson responded tetchily to questions about Ferdinand's impressive United form, claiming England had "moved on", but injuries to Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones have forced the manager to rethink.

Foster, meanwhile, will compete with Celtic's Fraser Forster for the right to deputise for regular No 1 Joe Hart.

And Tottenham pair Scott Parker and Michael Dawson have also been called up after long absences - nine months for Parker and almost two years in Dawson's case.

England are away at San Marino on 22 March, four days before they take on current group leaders Montenegro in Podgorica.

Squad: Forster, Foster, Hart, Baines, Cahill, Cole, Dawson, Ferdinand, Johnson, Smalling, Walker, Carrick, Cleverley, Gerrard, Lampard, Lennon, Milner, Osman, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Parker, Walcott, Young, Defoe, Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck.

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