Veteran has finally decided to call it quits with the Three Lions.
Queens Park Rangers head coach Harry Redknapp has paid tribute to Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester United centre back announced his decision to retire from international football with immediate effect on Wednesday, reports the Daily Mirror.
Ferdinand, 34, has called time on his glittering Three Lions career having won 81 caps for his country, the last of which was against Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley Stadium in June 2011.
In total, the central defender’s England career spanned 14 years after Ferdinand made his international debut in a friendly against Cameroon in 1997 under the management of Glenn Hoddle.
And it was while playing under Redknapp at West Ham United that Ferdinand won his first England call-up, before he then moved on to Leeds United in 2000, followed by a transfer to Old Trafford two years later.
However, Redknapp has revealed that the Red Devils actually tried to buy Ferdinand way back in the 1996/97 season while he was out on loan with Bournemouth, only for the Hammers to reject their advances.
“We knew from day one he was going to be a special player,” Redknapp told talkSPORT. “He was lightning quick and graceful on the ball.
“He had everything I loaned him to Bournemouth and Man United came in. Martin Edwards rang Bournemouth football club, he rang Mel Machin who was the manager and asked Mel how much he wanted for the young centre half.
“They’d seen him play on the Saturday at Rochdale or somewhere and Mel said ‘well he’s only on loan, he belongs to West Ham’. Martin Edwards didn’t realise that.
“He came on and wanted to buy him and I said ‘he hasn’t got a price, he’ll be the best defender in Europe one day’.
“Eventually he ended up a Man Utd but for an awful lot of money.”