Manchester United have been dealt a hammer blow after captain Wayne Rooney was ruled out for up to two months with a knee ligament injury.
News of the setback emerged after United landed in Denmark for Thursday night’s Europa League clash with FC Midtjylland without the England striker.
Rooney has been in a hot streak of form in recent weeks, scoring seven goals in the last nine games, but his absence leaves United with just one senior striker in Anthony Martial. Will Keane has been added to the squad to face Midtjylland.
It is unclear whether Rooney suffered the injury in Saturday’s shock defeat at Sunderland or in training since then.
It comes at a crucial point in the season with Louis van Gaal’s side set to face Shrewsbury in the FA Cup on Monday once they return from Denmark.
It will also be a worry for England boss Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016.
England have friendlies against Germany and Holland next month, and there are bound to be concerns that Rooney could go into yet another major championships not in peak condition.
Van Gaal is set to speak about the situation when he faces the media in Herning later on Wednesday.
But Rooney might miss as many as 11 matches for United, including matches against Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton and Tottenham.
He could miss as many as eight Premier League games for Van Gaal’s side.