Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that David Beckham has withdrawn from the England squad to play Portugal on Saturday, however the Manchester United boss refused to explain why Paul Scholes, who was meant to be unfit for the Portugal game, was able to play in last night’s match against Middlesbrough.

Beckham was taken off towards the end of the 1-0 Premiership victory over Middlesbrough at Old Trafford last night.

‘He has had a calf injury all week and he has done well to play tonight,’ Ferguson told Sky Sports.

‘But we have had to withdraw him from the international team.

‘He has got a little pull in his left calf muscle which obviously is a concern for us because we have Bolton next Wednesday.’

A communications chief Paul Newman told The Sun:’Sven spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson after the game and was told Beckham had a calf injury and little or no chance of being fit.

‘Sven will decide in the morning whether David should report to the camp, whether someone else should be called up and who will take the captaincy.’

Somewhat surprisingly, Beckham’s Manchester United and England colleague Paul Scholes, who was consideredunfit to play for England, did manage to play for the bulk of last night’s match.

Quizzed about Scholes unexpected appearance,Ferguson claimed the midfielder had been carrying an injury for weeks but did not offer an explanation as to why he would miss the England match but was deemed fit enough to play for Manchester United.