Ferdinand's recurring back problem has badly disrupted his season
England captain Rio Ferdinand will miss next Wednesday's friendly against Egypt because of a back problem.
The Manchester United defender had already been ruled out of Sunday's Carling Cup final at Wembley against Aston Villa because of the same injury.
"He won't be fit for the England game but we don't think it is too serious," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is now favourite to wear the skipper's armband at Wembley.
Ferdinand, 31, had been expected to captain England following coach Fabio Capello's decision to remove John Terry from the role earlier this month amid allegations over the Chelsea defender's private life.
However, Ferdinand has a long-standing back complaint that kept him out for more than three months earlier this season.
Ferguson insisted that there was no reason to think the former West Ham star could not cope with the demands of a busy club and international schedule.
"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," added 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."
Ferdinand had been set to play in Tuesday's Premier League game against West Ham after serving a four-match suspension, which followed his sending off against Hull City on 23 January - his first game after his three-month lay-off.
But he felt a "twinge in his back" during training, according to Ferguson, and was left out of the side, with United going on to win the game 3-0.
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England's game against Africa Cup of Nations champions Egypt is the final friendly before Capello names his provisional squad for this summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.
Ferguson had said of Ferdinand before the match against the Hammers: "It is a blow for us because I was looking forward to having Ferdinand and Vidic back on Tuesday. 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."
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