MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Some managers don’t want to look back. They like to move forward with a new team, forget any ‘baggage’ from before. And Rio Ferdinand may be a victim of that.

I can’t see any other reason why he is not in the England team. Picking a defender on form and pedigree, can Roy Hodgson really make an argument that Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill or Chris Smalling are better players? Smalling cannot get into the Manchester United team ahead of Rio, but he can get into the England team.

Ferdinand’s form is getting hard to ignore. His performance in Madrid was very accomplished.

I was in the Bernabeu and I want to stress that these games — the intensity and demands of them — are on another level from the Premier League. And something completely different to the friendly against Brazil. With the visitors picking Ronaldinho for his 100th cap, that was played at the pace of a veterans’ game at times.

Rio, without Nemanja Vidic alongside him, coped with all that Madrid could throw at him. There was that moment of danger when it looked like Cristiano Ronaldo had got the run on him coming into the near post and Rio (right) sensed the danger, reacted and dealt with it.

That old saying ‘don’t cut off your nose to spite your face’, comes to mind here with England.

Whatever that ‘football reasons’ statement from the England manager meant, well, for football reasons, he surely has to be recalled.

This a bit like what is happening with Frank Lampard at Chelsea; it just doesn’t make sense. Frank may well stay, but why has it come to this? And the same can be asked about Rio.

What has he done wrong? He seems to have handled his omission maturely ... he lost the England captaincy and did not cause a fuss. He has played his way back into form. He wants to play for England and add to his 81 caps.

Judging him on ‘football reasons’, he has to be back in for the World Cup qualifiers next month, doesn’t he? Montenegro is a challenge and their centre forward, the Juventus striker, Mirko Vucinic, is a handful, as he proved to Celtic this week in the Champions League. But Rio has handled better strikers.

Okay, he is not the future, but he is the present.

I believe he is seeing the benefits of looking after his body, working alongside someone like Ryan Giggs and understands how to play with his injuries, especially his back injury, that has troubled him in recent years.

I’m also surprised that he has been allowed to drift towards the end of his contract at Manchester United. He can sign a pre-contract TODAY with a foreign club. Surely United will fix that soon.

I watched him and compared him to Sergio Ramos on Wednesday night and while the Spanish World Cup and European Championship winner was all over the place, Rio — and Jonny Evans — were the best two centre backs on the pitch. They looked controlled and accomplished.

One question asked is whether he can play back-to-back games in tournament football. I say England have to get there first and the journey becomes a lot easier with Rio in the team. – Daily Mail