Captain Ferdinand ruled out of Egypt friendly

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Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Rio Ferdinand will not be fit enough to captain England against Egypt at Wembley next Wednesday.

Ferdinand was expected to lead his country after inheriting the armband from John Terry following the Chelsea star's well-publicised personal problems.

But after the 31-year-old felt a twinge in his back ahead of Manchester United's victory over West Ham on Tuesday, Ferdinand has now been consigned to the sidelines for a couple of weeks.

"He won't be fit for the England game," said Ferguson. "That is obvious."

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard would appear to be next on the list for Capello, who will be at Chelsea to watch their Premier League encounter with Manchester City - and the meeting between Terry and Wayne Bridge - on Saturday, with either Frank Lampard or Wayne Rooney acting as back-up.

Not that Ferguson is overly interested in Three Lions affairs.

He is more upset at losing Ferdinand to a back injury that has plagued him for 18 months just as Nemanja Vidic was returning to his starting line-up.

"It is a blow for us because I was looking forward to having Ferdinand and Vidic back on Tuesday," reflected the Scot.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

"You never know with back injuries and we have been through this before, but we don't think it is too serious.

"I don't think he will be fit for the AC Milan game but I don't think it will be long afterwards. We think he could be back in two weeks."

It has been suggested Ferdinand may come under pressure from his club boss to cut back on his international appearances in order to preserve his career.

Ryan Giggs took the same action with Wales and many observers feel the veteran wide-man's international retirement has been a contributing factor to his outstanding form in recent times.

Ferguson though insists the same situation does not apply with Ferdinand.

"I don't think we are at the stage where he should be concentrating on one part of his life in terms of international and domestic football," said Ferguson.

"That has never been any issue.

"I have never discussed it with him and I don't think he has ever thought about that himself."