Rio Ferdinand may have been out of the England picture in June, but TEAMtalk's Pete Hall says this is the defender's time for club and country.
In the space of 24 hours this week, John Terry announced his immediate retirement from international football, and Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for at least eight weeks following knee surgery.
Both are huge losses, but one man could be pivotal to both United's title challenge and England's quest for World Cup qualification, and fill the void left by both withdrawals. That man is Rio Ferdinand.
Much was made over the summer on whether Roy Hodgson would include the 33-year-old in his squad for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, with Ferdinand eventually being left out in favour of Terry, and being seemingly cast into the international wilderness.
Also, at Old Trafford, the return of the Red Devils' inspirational captain Vidic took much attention off ageing centre-half Ferdinand of late, and with young multi-million pound youngsters waiting in the wings (when fit), his spot in the United first team seemed as uncertain as it ever was.
Yet, once again, both club and country may be forced to turn to the ever-reliable stalwart.
In Gary Cahill, the Three Lions have a ready-made replacement for Terry, and have plenty of other options at the back, such as the in-form Phil Jagielka of Everton and Manchester City's Joleon Lescott to turn to.
However, there are some crucial games to come, especially the vital World Cup 2014 qualifier away in Poland in October. If England were to ship several goals in Warsaw, fingers would be pointed at an inexperienced back-line.
Chelsea skipper Terry is made for those sort of games, and thrives on the pressure of the big stage, which often brings out the best in him. The same can also be said about Ferdinand.
Experience on the international stage is priceless, especially when visiting the hostile environments of eastern Europe, and without Terry, there would only be Ashley Cole with the knowledge to pass on to the younger members of the team.
Therefore, despite Hodgson insisting that this is an era of evolution, with youth the focus for much of his selections, there still needs to be a balance of youthful exuberance and experienced, steady heads that can always be relied upon. Rio fits that mould perfectly.
One of the reasons many pundits cited as to why the England chief left Ferdinand out of his Euro 2012 squad was the potential problems of having to play alongside Terry, with the Chelsea captain's court case against Rio's brother Anton still looming. Relations between the pair could have be volatile to say the least.
Now that obviously isn't an issue for England anymore, and with Rio alongside an up-and-coming young defence, his knowledge and know-how could be invaluable to the development of England's future stars.
In the red half of Manchester, Vidic's latest injury, after missing the final five months of the 2011/12 season's disappointing campaign, is the last thing Sir Alex Ferguson needed with some vital games coming up.
The Serbian defender's surprise absence from the team that face Liverpool on Sunday at Anfield shocked many, and now it has become clear there lay a more deep-rooted problem.
However, the blow was somewhat softened by Rio Ferdinand's assured display in the controversial derby, which saw the Merseysiders struggle to break through United's resolute defence, albeit with 10 men, thanks to the veteran's solid performance.
Now, with the United skipper out for a lengthy period, attention will turn to Ferdinand to be the figurehead at the heart of the 19-time top-flight champions' rearguard, with Jonny Evans the frontrunner to play alongside him.
More competition will come in the form of the soon-to-be-returning Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, and after substantial injury lay-offs for the England pair, Ferdinand's worldly advice will be more useful than ever to ensure both youngsters ease their way back into the United fold, and even start to make an impression on the new Three Lion's coach.
Despite the manner in which he was cast aside by Hodgson, Ferdinand has never made himself unavailable for his country, and notwithstanding his own injury problems, would welcome a return to the national side, regardless of the extra games.
It is this attitude that has won him huge respect in the game. His loyalty to his country, despite the manner in which he has been overlooked in the past, speaks volumes for the temperament of the man.
Ferguson's faith in Ferdinand has come under much scrutiny by many pundits, with some of his performances in the Red Devils' surrender of their Premier League crown in May drawing mixed reviews.
But time and again, the former Leeds United centre-back has proven he can still mix it amongst the cream of European football, and now he could well be crucial to success for both club and country in the critical months ahead.
You can follow Pete on Twitter at @pistolpeteh86.