Rio Ferdinand says he is "gutted" to have been left out of England's 23-man squad for Euro 2012.
The Manchester United defender, 33, was the most high-profile omission from manager Roy Hodgson's squad for the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.
"Absolutely loved playing for England. To say I'm gutted is an understatement of the highest order," Ferdinand wrote on social networking site
Hodgson insists leaving
Ferdinand out of his squad
is a footballing decision.
Ferdinand's omission avoids a potential conflict with John Terry, who is to stand trial in July over a charge he racially abused Ferdinand's brother Anton. Terry denies the charge.
"I selected John Terry for footballing reasons and I left out Rio Ferdinand for footballing reasons," said Hodgson.
"I've spoken to both of them of course. I had to do that."
Rio Ferdinand in focus
: 8 November, 1978
Makes England debut against Cameroon at Wembley
Named in England squad for 1998 World Cup finals by manager Glenn Hoddle but does not play in tournament
Omitted from Euro 2000 squad by manager Kevin Keegan
Banned for eight months for missing a drugs test which results in him being unavailable for Euro 2004
Plays five games at World Cup in Germany where England eventually lose on penalties to Portugal
Injury rules him out of loss to Croatia as England fail to qualify for Euro 2008
Captains England for first time in defeat by France in March - loses out in battle for England captaincy to John Terry in August - back as captain in October as Terry is injured
Terry is stripped of captaincy and Ferdinand is given the armband before injury rules him out of the 2010 World Cup
Makes the last of his 81 England appearances in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland
He added: "In the last couple of days I've spoken to both of them and explained to them why I've come to the decision."
"He [Rio] was obviously disappointed. I'd be surprised had he not been. He was very gracious and he wished myself and the team the very best of luck in the tournament."
Chelsea centre-back Terry was
stripped of the captaincy for a second time
by the Football Association in February over allegations that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match against QPR.
The FA's decision led to
Fabio Capello resigning as England boss
and the recent appointment of Hodgson.
"I realised that when I selected him [Terry] there would be people who would raise eyebrows but that's the decision that I've made, that's the decision I shall live with."
Ferdinand has been hampered by back problems in recent years but made 30 Premier League appearances this season, the most times he has featured in a campaign since 2007-08.
But his club manager Sir Alex Ferguson said recently:
"You play something like a game every four days. Rio Ferdinand couldn't do that."
Ferdinand, who has never played in a European Championship and won the first of 81 caps in 1997, was named England captain in February 2010 after Terry was removed from the role for the first time following allegations about his private life.
But the United defender
suffered a knee ligament injury in England's first training session in South Africa
ahead of the 2010 World Cup and missed the tournament.
Ferdinand's subsequent unavailability saw Capello pass the captaincy back to Terry in March last year and he made the last of his England appearances in the 2-2 draw with Switzerland in June 2011.
"I had a private conversation with Sir Alex [Ferguson] 10 days ago," said Hodgson. "I think Rio has done exceptionally well this year. He's played a lot of matches through injury.
"He's got himself on the field of play when many a player wouldn't have done so.
"I'm also wary of that because I know there have been times in the season where Rio has played three matches in a week.
"I would be lying if that [the ability to play matches close together] was the major reason for not selecting him.
"It was purely on other footballing reasons.
"I admire Rio Ferdinand as a player. I think he's a fine footballer and I respect him, but I had to pick a squad with defenders I wanted to take to the Euros."