England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed he has held talks with Sir Alex Ferguson regarding Rio Ferdinand and is adamant the Manchester United defender will be looked after on international duty.
The centre-back has been surprisingly recalled to the Three Lions squad for their World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Montenegro.
United boss Ferguson had on Friday voiced concerns about Ferdinand's fitness as a consequence but after Saturday's win over Reading he confirmed the defender would be joining up with his country.
And Hodgson said: "I have spoken to Sir Alex (about Ferdinand) but I'm not going to go into detail about conversations I've had with other managers.
"Sir Alex is an important person for me to keep in touch with. But I'm not prepared ever to discuss the content of our conversation. That will remain private between us.
"Whenever players come to join us, we always research what their routines are with their club sides, what they are used to doing two days after a match for example or the day before a game."
It is understood Hodgson may go some way to managing Ferdinand's game time by resting him for the San Marino match - which England are overwhelming favourites to win - and draft him in for the vital game against Montenegro a week on Tuesday.
The manager is certainly not looking too far ahead where Ferdinand is concerned and said: "Rio might be fit in September, October, November, he might be fit next June (and the World Cup). I'm not bothered about the long-term future at the moment."
Hodgson also accepts he owes a debt to Ferguson with his willingness to give young homegrown players a chance to flourish at United, with seven of Hodgson's squad for the forthcoming games based at Old Trafford.
Hodgson said: "We are lucky Sir Alex has not overlooked the young players like (Tom) Cleverley, (Chris) Smalling, (Phil) Jones and (Danny) Welbeck."
Will Rio Ferdinand's return help England?