Rio Ferdinand believes his international career may be over after coming to terms with his omission from England’s squad for the European Championship.
Ferdinand, who has amassed 81 international caps, will watch from home when England face France in their opening Group D clash on Monday. The 33-year-old defender fears he may never play for the Three Lions again as he was overlooked for the initial squad, and also as a late replacement for the injured Gary Cahill.
“You would have to say it might be over with England for me,” Ferdinand told The Sun. “If I’m not getting picked now, especially when people are out injured, then it’s unlikely I will be picked again.
“I always said I wouldn’t retire from international football until I stopped playing and I won’t. I will still be available. And I will be watching England and cheering them on at the Euros because it’s my country and I want us to do well.”
Ferdinand’s omission from the squad has been the source of much conjecture in the lead-up to Euro 2012, with speculation that he was left out due to the legal case surrounding John Terry's alleged racial abuse of Rio’s brother, Anton.
Never having featured in a European Championship finals competition during his career, Ferdinand says his previous international tournament at the World Cup six years ago is likely to be his last.
“I must admit I didn’t expect 2006 would be my last competition,” he said. “I really hoped that I would get 100 caps - but for various reasons it hasn’t happened. It’s a disappointment but it just shows you can never take anything for granted in football."
The Manchester United man admits to feeling disappointed at being left of the England squad, but refused to apportion blame to manager Roy Hodgson.
“Of course I was upset not to be in the squad,” said Ferdinand. “That’s a perfectly natural reaction. I love being involved in football at the very top. I won’t discuss what Mr Hodgson has said to me but he knows I wanted to be in the squad.
“If you aren’t disappointed by being left at home when your country is playing in tournaments like this then there’s a problem and you shouldn’t be in professional football.
“I’m in this game to achieve as much as I can. I’m paid to win and be a sore loser. I want to play in the big games and win big trophies. If that’s a crime then I’m a criminal.”
A variety of fitness problems have kept Ferdinand out of most England squads over the last two years but, after displaying solid form with United at the end of last season, he felt perfectly fit to take on the Euros this summer.
“I might have had a few injury problems in the past but I was in good shape,” he said. “I played all our games in the run-in, the manager was happy with me, and I was feeling really good. You can't ask for any more.”