There's something in the water at Old Trafford at the moment. Hot on the heels of his soon to be ex gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand yesterday announced his international retirement with immediate effect. He departs having represented England 81 times over a 17 year period which involved trips to 3 World Cups.

"I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career," added the former West Ham and Leeds centre-back.
"The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks, which bodes well for the future.
"I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from Under-17s upwards.
"I have always been very proud to play for England. I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments" he said.

His decision to pack it in coincides, with the 33 year olds talks with the United 'bigwigs' to extend his current contract, rumoured to be worth 120k per week. As he and his representatives negotiate his last big money deal, it's not a stretch to come to the conclusion that from Man United's point of view, having their star defender play less games, protects their investment somewhat.

In fact there is a school of thought that suggests that this is a win, win, win for all parties. England coach, Roy Hodgson, has enjoyed an uncomfortable relationship with the defender at best. He left him out of the Euro 2012 championships due to what Hodgson cited as 'football reasons' (the actual reason being that he didn't want Ferdinand and the 'delightful' John Terry in the same room after Terry's alleged racial abuse of Rio's brother Anton during a premier league game) and then in October last, was caught telling members of the public on a London tube train that 'Ferdinand's international career was over'. Well played Roy, well played!