The 34-year-old hasn’t featured for his country since a 2-2 draw against Switzerland in June 2011 but he’s been in excellent form for United this season and with Phil Jagielka out injured and Chelsea captain John Terry retiring from international football, Ferdinand comes back into the England fold.
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster is also back in the squad along with Tottenham duo Michael Dawson and Scott Parker who have been performing well for high-flying Spurs in recent months.
Manchester City centre back Joleon Lescott has been over-looked after losing his place in Roberto Mancini’s starting eleven while Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere also misses out through injury. Liverpool’s Stewart Downing may feel slightly aggrieved to miss out after returning to form in recent weeks but team mate Daniel Sturridge retains his place after an impressive start to life at Anfield.
Here is the full squad Hodgson announced this afternoon.
Joe Hart (Man City), Ben Foster (WBA), Fraser Forster (Celtic)
Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole (both Chelsea), Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker (both Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand , Chris Smalling (both Man Utd), Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young (all Man Utd), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon, Scott Parker (both Tottenham), James Milner (Man City), Leon Osman (Everton), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott (both Arsenal).
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney, Daniel Welbeck (both Man Utd), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
England play San Marino on Friday the 22nd March before playing away at Montenegro on Tuesday 26th as they look to qualify from Group H.
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