MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP)
Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling has been ruled out
for up to 10 weeks with a broken foot and is now set to miss the
start of the new season.
Smalling had been trying to regain fitness at United's Carrington
training ground after recovering from a thigh injury that put
paid to his hopes of appearing for England at Euro 2012.
But United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking from South Africa,
where the English giants are currently on a pre-season tour, told
MUTV -- United's own television station -- that the 22-year-old
had suffered a new setback courtesy of a metatarsal break.
"He got an injury on the Wednesday and, straight away, we decided
to have the operation, so he's out," Ferguson said on Saturday.
"It's difficult to say with a metatarsal but it could be 10
"He's not carrying any luck, the kid, but he's young and we've
done the right thing in getting it done immediately and getting
him back on the road as quickly as we can."
Now it seems unlikely that Smalling will play again until the end
of September at the earliest.
That would mean the former Fulham man missing United's opening
six Premier League games, plus their opening Champions League
In addition, Smalling is also set to be sidelined from at least
three England matches and, quite probably, October's World Cup
qualifiers with San Marino and Poland as well, given the limited
time he would then have to regain match fitness.