Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand's international future has been thrown into further doubt after confirming his withdrawal from the England squad for the World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Montenegro.
After having not played for England since June 2011, Ferdinand was last week selected for the first time under Roy Hodgson, following his controversial omission from the Euro 2012 squad.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, then cast doubt over Ferdinand's participation in the international double-header last week, citing the 34 year old's fragile fitness state.
Hodgson confirmed no contact had been made with Ferdinand, who has been replaced by Steven Caulker, over his selection, but upon the pair conferring this weekend, the decision was taken for the centre-back to withdraw.
"I'm disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow it's not possible," Hodgson said.
"However, I was pleased that Rio called and asked to meet with me. It was important to hear from him personally about the way he must manage his body between games.
"This is not to say he cannot play back-to-back games - he can and has proven so. He's out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his programme.
"I must place on record how I was impressed with his commitment to playing for England and I look forward to hopefully selecting him for squads in the future."
The incident is the latest embarrassing episode concerning Ferdinand's international future, after Hodgson claimed last summer 'footballing reasons' were his sole motivation for the decision to leave him out of the England squad for last summer's European Championships.
The England boss was forced to defend the inclusion of John Terry over Ferdinand, with fears over the pair's relationship, with the then skipper facing an racially aggravated assault charge on Rio's brother Anton, for which the Chelsea defender was later cleared.
With Hodgson having neglected to contact Ferdinand first over his inclusion in the squad, the United defender's withdrawal is another source of discomfort.
"It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation, and one thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever," Ferdinand said.
"It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future."
Ferdinand added on Twitter: "I'm Gutted I had to pull out of england squad, but it was the right decision for my intricate pre-planned programme. [sic]"