Nemanja Matic facing spell out for United with injury, and what it means

Manchester United’s injury problems have been complicated by an injury to Nemanja Matic.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club’s official website that Matic ‘cannot play on’ at present. He did not disclose the nature of Matic’s problem.

Solskjaer said: “He’s played on with a little problem and we decided he couldn’t play on any more with that. So I don’t know how long he’ll be out.”

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Unfortunate timing

The injury is a cruel blow for Matic as he is likely to miss out on United’s visit to his native Serbia this week.

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United play away at Partizan Belgrade in a 5.55pm kick-off on Thursday in the Europa League. Matic captained United in both our Europa games so far this season.

His last Premier League appearance was in the loss to West Ham.

Having him available at least gave the squad added flexibility for Europa League games, even if his quality and impact has begun to wane.

Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

What does it mean?

Matic’s injury increases United’s need to get Paul Pogba back from his injury as soon as possible. Solskjaer said that Pogba is due to undergo a fitness test this week.

With United playing away at Norwich next weekend, there is an added case to get youngster James Garner more involved with the first team. Perhaps Dylan Levitt may even get a call up.

Solskjaer must balance the squad sensibly for the two games, and that will mean the same midfield trio do not start both fixtures.

Without Pogba and Matic, United’s midfield options will be stretched, and this highlights the poor transfer business in the summer.

Long term, Matic does not have a big future at United and he has recently been linked with a United exit. The Mail reported this past week that he could get a one year contract extension to prevent him leaving for free next summer. That’s sensible enough, hopefully the injury doesn’t interfere with his potential sale. United will want to recoup some of the £40 million they paid for him in 2017.

When he does leave, he will need to be replaced, although we said that with Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera too.

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