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 April 24, 2002 | 1106 IST

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Beckham escapes crash unharmed - papers

England captain David Beckham has escaped unharmed from a car crash just two weeks after a broken foot put his World Cup play in jeopardy, media reports said on Wednesday.

The injured Manchester United midfielder, whose left foot is encased in plaster, was at the wheel of his Mercedes 500 when it collided with a car driven by an off-duty policeman near the soccer star's home in Hertfordshire, newspapers said.

Neither driver was injured in the crash last Thursday, although Beckham's expensive Mercedes was reported to have sustained thousands of dollars in damage.

The accident, which occurred on a country lane, "could have been far worse", the Daily Mail quoted an unidentified source as saying.

The reports also said that Beckham's car was an automatic, which meant he did not need his left foot to drive.

News of the star's close call is sure to further frazzle the nerves of jittery fans obsessed with Beckham's fitness for the World Cup finals.

The 26-year-old broke the second metatarsal bone in his foot after being tackled in Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final victory over Deportivo Coruna on April 10.

His recovery is expected to take between six to eight weeks, and Beckham has said he is determined to be fit for England's first match of the finals, against Sweden on June 2.

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