England captain Rio Ferdinand is unlikely to be fit for the forthcoming European Championship qualifier with Wales on March 26, according to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferdinand is currently sidelined with a calf injury, and his expected absence, along with that of vice-captain Steven Gerrard, has led to talk that manager Fabio Capello will offer the armband back to former skipper John Terry.

Ferguson, though, does not expect Ferdinand to return in time to make Capello's captaincy decision any easier, saying: "Rio has been doing a bit of running. He will be ready for the game after the internationals. I wouldn't have thought he would have a chance before that."

He added: "I don't think it would be wise for him to be called up by England. He hasn't played for us since January."

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