England manager Roy Hodgson says he must work closely with Manchester United in order to help Rio Ferdinand prolong his international career.
The centre-back pulled out of the Three Lions squad ahead of the World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Montenegro citing the need to follow an intricate 'pre-planned fitness programme'.
And, though Hodgson refused to concede that the 34-year-old's presence was missed as his side drew 1-1 in Podgorica, he talked up the need to regularly consult the Red Devils over his fitness.
"First of all, I would say the two centre-backs did very well," Hodgson said.
"(Chris) Smalling was excellent and Joleon Lescott did a very good job as well. I would have thought if there were two players who deserve to come out of this game with credit and without any negativity it's the two centre-backs.
"So, therefore, there's no interest for me discussing someone who is not here. Furthermore, if (Ferdinand) is going to play in future games there will have to be further discussions, not least of all in relation to his fitness programme and his club.
"I have absolutely nothing to add from when it first came up and, certainly today.
"I think it would be extremely unfair to suggest it was the performance of Smalling and Lescott which has culminated in us drawing the game rather than winning the game."