Hodgson gave a strong hint that Ferdinand could have a prominent role to play against San Marino and Montenegro.
He said: "A player of Rio's calibre and Rio's age, you don't bring them into a squad as back-ups, you bring them into the squad or the team because you want them to make the team better, to give you a better chance of winning.
"So it wouldn't take too much guesswork to work out that he's in the squad in order to play rather than to make up the numbers."
He also floated the prospect of Ferdinand playing a part in the World Cup in Rio next year.
He said: "Who knows what the future holds? I can't give guarantees about the future, 2014 is a long way off but if Rio Ferdinand is still playing the way he is at the moment in 2014 he is going to be a major candidate for a place in the squad."