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Ferdinand defends decision to fly to Qatar as commentator after withdrawing from WCup match

Rio Ferdinand has defended his decision to fly to Doha and appear as a television analyst for England's World Cup qualifier, days after ruling himself out of the match because of fitness issues.

The Manchester United defender cited the need to follow a "detailed and pre-planned program" of fitness for missing Friday's game at San Marino and Tuesday's qualifier against Montenegro. It would have marked his international return after a two-year absence.

Instead, he'll be in Qatar to visit the Aspire training academy before working for Al-Jazeera.

Ferdinand says in a Twitter post that it's "no different from what I done on the last 10day international break," and says it was "punditry thrown in for a game I would have watched anyway."