United’s Rio Ferdinand shows off his skill at training.
United’s Rio Ferdinand shows off his skill at training. manutd.com

Fabio Capello reportedly contacted Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand in order to assure the 33-year-old that he still has an international future despite his omission from the England squad to face Spain and Sweden.

The Daily Mirror claim the Italian telephoned Ferdinand to alleviate the Old Trafford veteran's concerns regarding his future for the national side ahead of next summer's European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

The Manchester United star was reportedly informed he remains an integral member of his squad and was only excluded on the basis of Capello's desire to look at alternatives such as his club colleague Phil Jones.

The Mirror suggests the England manager also endeavoured to explain his selection of Chelsea defender John Terry, who is currently under investigation by the Met Police and the Football Association over his alleged racist comments to Ferdinand's younger brother Anton.

Capello is believed to have told Ferdinand that the decision was made on the basis that Terry is his captain and remains innocent until proven guilty.

Rio Ferdinand's future for club and country has been seriously questioned in recent months following a less than convincing start to the season. Sir Alex Ferguson held his experienced defender, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, largely responsible for United's capitulation against Manchester City and the towering centre-half was left on the bench in the Red Devils' subsequent league game against Everton.

Ferguson claimed the player would have to adapt his game in order to challenge the club's youthful trio of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, but despite doubts over his form as he reaches the twilight of his career, Capello is confident the defender has plenty still to offer.