Rio Ferdinand has warned England may have left themselves exposed in midfield at the World Cup by omitting Michael Carrick from their core squad for Brazil. (Also read: UK government writes off England's chance to reach knockout phase)
The former England captain, who announced his abrupt departure from Manchester United this week, also queried the decision to drop Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole.
England coach Roy Hodgson this week listed Carrick among his seven stand-by players. His decision to omit Cole, in favour of Everton's Leighton Baines and Southampton's Luke Shaw, grabbed most attention. (Also read: Cautious England put faith in Wayne Rooney and youth)
But Ferdinand, speaking during a promotional trip for Singapore telco Singtel, pointed out there is little cover in the 23-man main squad for Liverpool's holding midfielder Steven Gerrard, 33.
"I look around the squad and I can't see anyone else who plays that position naturally like him, in the Steven Gerrard role, especially if Steven Gerrard was to get injured or suspended," Ferdinand said in an interview.
"I don't think (there is) anyone who can play that same position as effectively as Michael Carrick naturally," he added.
"I think he's (Carrick) a top, top player and I have played with (Carrick) for so many years," Ferdinand said.
Ferdinand, who played at Old Trafford for 12 trophy-laden seasons, said he understood why Hodgson wanted to bring in Southampton's highly rated Shaw instead of Cole, who has 107 caps.
But he said he would still have picked Cole because he is "the best left-back that we got right now".
He also played down reports of player unrest during United's unsuccessful campaign this season, saying arguments and fights were not unusual for the club.
"I'd be more worried (if) the players weren't arguing and fighting and getting into each other's faces... if you're not successful you need to ask why," Ferdinand said.
"I've been in many different squads at Manchester United and I've seen fights, I've seen arguments and that's despite winning or losing," he added.
Manchester United finished seventh in the English top division, their lowest since 1990. But Ferdinand did not think the result would affect the club's dealings in the summer transfer market.
"I don't think it'll be a problem this summer. If we have a sustained period outside of Europe, then you start having problems, you saw that with Liverpool," he said.
"For the next few years I don't see it as a problem. The club is a juggernaut, it's a beast... I think players still look at Manchester United with that envious sigh and want to play for United."
Ferdinand was reluctant to discuss his next move, but he acknowledged there had been offers from Asia.
"I am open to things (in Asia) and as I have said before I love it here in Asia and my wife said she loves it here as well in Singapore," he said.