England coach Roy Hodgson has assured Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson he won't gamble with Rio Ferdinand's fitness.

The Mail on Sunday says Hodgson had left voice messages for Ferdinand and Ferguson to reassure them about the care the player will receive while on England duty and will be delighted that his gamble in naming the 34-year-old in the squad has paid off.

Ferdinand is expected to start the crucial World Cup qualifier against Montenegro next Tuesday, although United manager Ferguson had been reluctant for his player to resume his England career because he wanted the defender to protect a chronic back problem.

Having been selected for the squad to face San Marino and Montenegro in key World Cup qualifiers, the player decided to commit himself again to the cause.