Smalling setback for United

Defender out for another 10 weeks due to metatarsal injury

Chris Smalling: Manchester United defender out for 10 weeks due to a metatarsal injury

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Manchester United defender Chris Smalling will miss the start of the new season after undergoing an operation on a metatarsal injury.

Smalling had been working his way back to fitness after being forced out of England's squad for Euro 2012 earlier in the summer due to a groin problem.

He was also unavailable for selection for Team GB's Olympics squad, but Sir Alex Ferguson was hoping the 22-year-old would be fit for the beginning of the campaign.

However, the Red Devils have confirmed that Smalling has required surgery to fix a toe injury and he is facing a further 10 weeks on the sidelines.

Unlucky

United manager Ferguson told MUTV: "He got an injury on the Wednesday and, straight away, we decided to have the operation, so he's out.

"It's difficult to say with a metatarsal but it could be 10 weeks.

"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."

The former Fulham centre-half's continued absence will come as a blow to Ferguson, who already expects Jonny Evans to sit out the start of the season following an ankle operation.

Captain Nemanja Vidic is building up towards a first-team comeback after being out of action since December due to a knee injury.

United start the 2012/13 Premier League season against Everton, and Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones could be the centre-half pairing for the game at Goodison Park.