Former England spinner Graeme Swann has backed Kevin Pietersen to have an international future after the batsman's place in the national side was put in question.

Swann has also denied he was talking about former Hampshire player Pietersen when he criticised players for thinking they are bigger than the game.

Swann quit in the middle of England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia but has said the team's future should include Pietersen.

''England's short-term future should include Pietersen,'' said Swann.

''People seem keen to create a rift between Kevin and the rest of the team.

''Among the more ludicrous stories was one claiming he did not go to the team's Christmas lunch.

''I know he did - because I sat next to him.

''Since being reintegrated in 2012, his attitude has been great. He was England's top run scorer in the Ashes and is one of the world's best players, so why get rid of him?''

Swann also revealed he had not been referring to Pietersen when he criticised players when he retired last month.

''At my retirement press conference, I made some comments about certain players being 'up their own backsides' - but I wasn't having a go at Kevin or any other England player.''