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Becks returns with fracture

London: England captain David Beckham’s broken hand will be in plaster for between six and eight weeks, his club Manchester United said on Friday.

It means Beckham should be fit in time to take part in United’s high-profile pre-season tour of the US, which starts on July 22.

Beckham flew home with the rest of the England squad on Friday with his lower arm in plaster having fractured the scaphoid bone connecting his right wrist and thumb during the 2-1 friendly win over South Africa in Durban on Thursday.

“He will be coming back to Manchester to be reviewed. He is likely to be in plaster for six to eight weeks. However, he will be fit for the pre-season tour of the US,” United said in a club statement.

The injury is similar to one suffered by French former United player Eric Cantona during his time at Old Trafford in the 1990s. Cantona played with a cast on his arm while recovering from that injury.

Beckham was substituted five minutes into the second half of Thursday’s game after suffering the injury in a heavy fall following a challenge in the first half. The match was Beckham’s last of the season as he is suspended for England’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on June 11.

Striker Emile Heskey scored England’s winner, tapping in a rebound after South Africa goalkeeper Brian Baloyi spilled a Frank Lampard shot in the 64th minute.

England took the lead after only 36 seconds when defender Gareth Southgate headed in a David Beckham free kick. South Africa levelled in the 18th minute when Benni McCarthy struck home a penalty following a handball by England right back Danny Mills.

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