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    Defender Rio Ferdinand out of England qualifiers

    Ferdinand, who has been replaced by Steven Caulker, says he wants to continue playing for England and will be available for future matches this year.

    London: England coach Roy Hodgson says defender Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of the squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro because he is unable to follow his "pre-planned training and medical program" on national-team duty.

    Ferdinand, who has been replaced by Steven Caulker, says he wants to continue playing for England and will be available for future matches this year.

    Ferdinand was recalled Thursday for the first time in nearly two years despite long-standing fitness issues that have been carefully managed by Manchester United.

    Hodgson says Ferdinand is "out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his program." United manager Alex Ferguson initially said he was surprised at Ferdinand's call-up, but said Saturday the player would join up with the squad.