Ferdinand ruled out until late September

Rio Ferdinand will miss Manchester United FC's first UEFA Champions League group-stage outing due to the knee ligament injury he sustained on FIFA World Cup duty with England.

Rio Ferdinand missed all of England's FIFA World Cup campaign
Rio Ferdinand missed all of England's FIFA World Cup campaign ©Getty Images

Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Rio Ferdinand will not be back at his disposal until late September.

Ferdinand sustained knee ligament damage in training with England at this summer's FIFA World Cup and was initially ruled out for between four and six weeks. That return date has since been put back, meaning Ferdinand is set to miss United's opening game of the UEFA Champions League group stage on 14/15 September. He could also be unavailable for their second fixture on 28/29 September.

"I still think Rio won't be back until the end of September," said Sir Alex. "It was a knee ligament injury, not the cruciate: it was medial ligaments. It was a freak training ground accident at the World Cup and nothing to do with his back, which was a problem for him last season. But I think he should be back late September." Last season's Premier League runners-up will discover their group-stage opponents in Thursday's draw in Monaco.