Rio Ferdinand needs to play

England manager Fabio Capello has stated that Rio Ferdinand must start playing and performing well if he is to be included in the national squad for Euro 2012.

The veteran Manchester United defender was left out of the squad that ensured qualification with a 2-2 draw against Montenegro on Friday night, with Gary Cahill starting alongside John Terry in Podgorica.

The centre half has been plagued with nagging injuries and struggled to get a solid run in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, as youngsters Phil Jones and Chris Smalling continue to impress in their appearances alongside Nemanja Vidic.

With the European Championships now in all potential players’ minds, Capello has stated that he will not select Ferdinand solely on his past or reputation.

“All these players who were injured, including ­Ferdinand and [Steven] Gerrard, I hope will be fit in a really short time,” he told Mirror Football.

“Rio needs to play games. He has not played enough and last week he was on the bench.

“It’s my job, sorry, but I check all the players before I select them. If a player is on top form I select them. I select the player, not the name,” he concluded.

With Ferdinand’s place in the United first-team no longer assured, a move to the MLS has been touted, but this would surely mark the end of his chances of playing in Poland and Ukraine next year.

By Gareth McKnight