United defender Smalling ruled out for ten weeks
Manchester United will be without defender Chris Smalling for the start of the season after the England international underwent surgery on a metatarsal injury.
Smalling, who missed out on a place at Euro 2012 as well as the Olympic Games, was expected to be fit for the start of the upcoming campaign.
However, his latest setback has put pay to that, and United now face going into the new season with a shortage of centre-halves. The former Maidstone man will be out until late September, stretching the defensive resources of manager Sir Alex Ferguson, with the season opener away to Everton on 20th August.
With Johnny Evans already a major doubt for the season opener and Nemanja Vidic still yet to make a competitive return from a serious knee injury which has sidelined him since December, United are left with Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones as the only recognised cover.
United’s defensive frailty may have been evident today as they struggled to a 1-1 draw in the second of their tour matches against South African opponents Ajax Cape Town.
A late Bebe goal spared the blushes for United who gave a first start to summer signing Shinji Kagawa as well as appearance for fellow new boy Nick Powell.
James Fuller, football correspondent