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Foster ruled out for nine weeks

Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster will not be involved in the Champions League final in Rome next week after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured ligament in his thumb.

The 26-year-old will be sidelined for at least nine weeks and will also miss United's final game of the season against Hull City, as well as England's World Cup qualifiers with Kazakhstan and Andorra on June 6 and 10.

Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is scheduled to start the Rome final against Barcelona on May 27, but Foster, who has emerged as a viable alternative to the current number one for next season, would have hoped to be on the bench.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "It is big blow for Ben as not only will he miss the Champions League final but also England's summer internationals."

"Ben has tried to continue the season with this injury but it got so critical that an operation was the only way forward. It is disappointing for him but the important thing was to get this operation done."

Foster has been desperately unlucky with injuries at United. After initially impressing in two loan stints with Watford he returned to Old Trafford to undergo knee surgery.

He has made nine appearances for the United this season, including a match-winning performance in the penalty shoot-out victory against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup final.

Foster's injury means Poland international Tomasz Kuszczak is almost certain to start at Hull City on Sunday and will deputise for Van der Sar for the Champions League final.

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