Manchester United midfielder David Beckham will be out of action for at least a month after breaking a rib.

The England captain is thought to have picked up the injury in the Premiership win over Southampton a fortnight ago. He played in the Champions League victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday in some discomfort and subsequent tests confirmed the rib injury.

Beckham will miss United’s trip to West Ham, as well as forthcoming Premier League matches against Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal. He is also likely to miss the opening two Champions League.

The news is a massive blow to United, who are already missing midfield duo Nicky Butt and Roy Keane through injury. Defender Rio Ferdinand is also expected to be out for a month after injuring his thigh during last week’s Champions League encounter with Bayer Leverkusen.