Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is set to undergo shoulder surgery later this month.
We knew this operation was likely and it is for the best to allow Rashford to have a mental and physical break and solve a long-standing problem. He will also get his ankle checked over at the same time.
United have cover and can cope especially after Jadon Sancho’s arrival. But Rashford is a key player who scored 21 goals last season so nobody wants him to be out of action for too long.
The games Rashford will miss
BBC Sport reporter Simon Stone reports Rashford is likely to return right after the October international break if there are no complications.
This means Rashford will miss the first seven games of the Premier League season. To look at this from the glass half-full angle, Rashford will be available for the last 31.
Rashford will miss fixtures against Leeds (h), Southampton (a), Wolves (a), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), Aston Villa (h), and Everton (h).
These are not easy games and will all be competitive, but the good news is that Rashford will return for tougher games afterwards.
Right after the international break in October United have four tough Premier League games against Leicester (a), Liverpool (h), Tottenham (a), City (h).
So Rashford’s first game at Old Trafford in 2021/22 could be against Liverpool. Imagine the raucous ovation and applause he will receive from a packed Old Trafford.
There will be a few more games Rashford will miss too. The third round of the Carabao Cup will be held on the week of September 21 and 22. The fourth round will be held in late October so he could be available there if United go through.
Rashford would also miss the first two matches of the Champions League group stage, to be held week of September 14/15 and 28/29. The third will take place the first midweek after the international break – so Rashford could play four of the six group stage matches in total.
This makes a total of 10 competitive games Rashford will miss, seven in the Premier League, plus two in the Champions League and one in the Carabao Cup against as yet unnamed opponents.
There could be a delay of course, although hopefully not. If Rashford is ahead of schedule United are unlikely to rush him back, to avoid him getting called up with England.
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