Speaking on television on Monday night, Neville, a coach with England, defended his former team-mate against criticism after United’s loss to Tottenham on Saturday. Neville said Ferdinand had "lost a yard of pace" but was "still quicker than Steve Bruce, Tony Adams and John Terry".
Yet he hinted Ferdinand would not be selected for the World Cup double-header against San Marino and Poland. Neville said: "He has not really been playing for England for the last two years. Hodgson is looking to the World Cup in 2014. Rio is a class player but by the World Cup he will be 35.
"Roy has said he is not going to take 34- or 35-year-olds, senior internationals with 70 or 80 caps, to sit in the stand. I’ve seen in previous squads how divisive that can be."