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Gerrard: Fans have right to lambast Ferdinand

Ferdinand opted to pull out of the squads for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro in order to safeguard his fitness for Manchester United and his decision to fly to Qatar to work as a TV pundit instead did not go down well with England followers.

They sang anti-Ferdinand songs during Friday's 8-0 win in San Marino and Gerrard had a certain amount of sympathy for them.

"They are entitled to their opinion. They've spent good money to come over here," Gerrard told the Sunday Telegraph.

"We all wanted Rio here because he's a good player and he certainly would have helped us over these two games. But he's made his decision and we need to respect that."

England manager Roy Hodgson has been guarded about whether Ferdinand, 34, will add to his 81 caps but suggested he was tired of talking about the experienced centre back, who he left out of Euro 2012 amid tensions with the now retired John Terry.

"I think it's wrong to consistently ask for people to come back," he said ahead of Tuesday's crucial clash away to the Group H leaders, who are two points above England.

"Where do we stop? Do we ask for Michael Owen to come out of retirement every time we can't score a goal?"

With Ferdinand preferring not to play and several other players injured, Hodgson may field the relatively untested partnership of Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling in Podgorica.

"I'm not exactly putting a couple of guys from non-league football out on the pitch on Tuesday night and I think we should show them a bit more respect - and not constantly compare them maybe," he said.

In what could be viewed as a dig at Ferdinand, he added: "The one thing the England fans can be really certain of is that if we fail it won't be because they are players who don't take it seriously or they are players who are more interested in themselves or their clubs."