Rio boost for England after Fergie says Man United defender WILL answer SOS for World Cup qualifiers

Rio Ferdinand will join up with the England squad this week after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the Manchester United defender wants to end his 21-month absence from international football.

England manager Roy Hodgson had left voice messages for Ferdinand and Ferguson to reassure them about the care the player will receive while on England duty and will be delighted that his gamble in naming the 34-year-old in the squad has paid off.

Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United competes with Mikele Leigertwood of Reading

Impressive: Rio Ferdinand helped Manchester United beat Reading on Saturday night

Ferdinand is expected to start the crucial World Cup qualifier against Montenegro next Tuesday, although United manager Ferguson had been reluctant for his player to resume his England career because he wanted the defender to protect a chronic back problem.

Having been selected for the squad to face San Marino and Montenegro in key World Cup qualifiers, the player decided to commit himself again to the cause.

Ferguson said after United’s 1-0 win over Reading: ‘He [Ferdinand] will join up, yeah.’

Worries: Ferguson will consult United's medical staff before Ferdinand decides whether to accept the call-up

Worries: Ferguson spoke to United's medical staff before allowing Ferdinand to accept the call-up

Ferdinand will continue his specialised conditioning while with England and follow United’s medical guidance. He would  normally use international week to visit back specialists in Munich and Milton Keynes and to recuperate.

Hodgson said: ‘Our medical people are in constant contact with the medical people and the sports science people at all the clubs so we have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done.

‘I regard myself as a custodian of these players. They belong to the clubs, that’s where they earn their money. We try to send them back in good condition.

Club and country: Ferdinand, right, will make his decision known to Roy Hodgson on Saturday

Club and country: Ferdinand, right, told Roy Hodgson he was available on Saturday

‘One hopes that the chance to play for England would be great motivation. Sir Alex has been very fair but I obviously am aware that, when you take a lot of players from one club you are placing a burden on the club and manager.’

Ferdinand, one of six United players in the England squad, does not want to endanger his  end-of-season fitness but his return ends a dramatic saga.

He won the last of his 81 caps against Switzerland in June 2011 but was dumped when Hodgson replaced Fabio Capello.

They all count: Rooney's shot took a deflection off Reading defender Alex Pearce before nestling in the net

They all count: Rooney's shot took a deflection off Reading defender Alex Pearce before nestling in the net

Despite Hodgson’s denials, it was widely believed that the court case in which John Terry was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence, when he was alleged to have abused  Ferdinand’s brother, Anton, made it impossible for the pair to play in the same team.

Terry retired from international football after the FA found him guilty of racial abuse.

Ferdinand’s inclusion will bring him face to face with Chelsea’s Ashley Cole. Ferdinand was fined for endorsing a tweet describing Cole as a ‘choc ice’ after the defender appeared as a witness for Terry.

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