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LONDON: Frank Lampard believes that Rio Ferdinand has not yet played his last game for England, despite the defender having withdrawn from the national squad this week.
England manager Roy Hodgson had called Ferdinand up for the first time for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, only for the 34-year-old to pull out, citing fitness concerns.
Ferdinand won the last of his 81 caps in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June 2011.
Despite his withdrawal, the Manchester United centre-back insists that he still wishes to represent his country, and Lampard says his current form means he deserves an opportunity.
“He’s a top-drawer player, Rio, and he’s certainly not finished,” Lampard told a press conference at England’s St George’s Park training base in Burton upon Trent, central England.
“Looking at his performances against (Real) Madrid, especially away, he was outstanding.
“Regular performances week in and week out, he’s a top performer, has been and still is.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of his future, but the way he’s playing at the minute, he’s one of the top defenders in the Premier League for sure.”
With Ferdinand’s fellow centre-backs Phil Jagielka, Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill all currently nursing injuries, Lampard said the timing of his former West Ham United team-mate’s withdrawal was unfortunate.
“(I was) sorry for him and the team. He’s been in fantastic form,” the midfielder said.AFP