Manchester United on course for dispute over Marouane Fellaini after Belgium reveal plans to play injured midfielder in World Cup qualifiers

Belgian coach Marc Wilmots says he expects Fellaini to be available for Friday's clash with Croatia despite requiring surgery on damaged wrist ligaments

Manchester United could become involved in a dispute with the Belgian national side over the availability of midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who was expected to be on the sidelines until December after damaging wrist ligaments last week.

Fellaini was expected to miss at least seven weeks after seeing a specialist in Manchester having picked up the injury in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Shakhtar Donetsk last week, but he still flew out to his homeland to link up with the rest of the Belgium squad to undergo further medical examination.

The 25-year-old requires surgery on the injury, and United boss David Moyes confirmed the news on Saturday following the 2-1 victory over Sunderland, saying: “He's got a wrist injury. He's going to see a specialist. It doesn't sound too good but we'll wait and find out on Monday.”

However, the Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots wants Fellaini to play in the World Cup qualifiers against Croatia and Wales, and insists that the £27.5m summer signing will train with the rest of the squad today with a protective splint on his hand.

"Marouane Fellaini should be able to play for Belgium against Croatia in Zagreb on Friday," said Wilmots. "Marouane has suffered wrist ligament injury and will have to undergo surgery.

“He will join the squad and train on Tuesday with a splint. As far as I am concerned, in principle he is able to play Friday. This does not mean that he will automatically play. I have not heard from Manchester United asking that the operation should be as quickly as possible."

Should Wilmots select Fellaini, his surgery on the damaged wrist would be delayed by up to two-weeks, meaning he could return later than originally thought. The reigning Premier league champions had already accepted that they would be without Fellaini for the clash with table-toppers Arsenal, but any longer and he could miss league games with Tottenham and Everton, as well as the final Champions League fixtures against Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar.

Under Fifa rules, the Belgian Football Association have the final say over whether Fellaini can play or not due to the international break, meaning United could be left without a say in the matter. They currently have Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs who can occupy the central midfield, while the relatively poor form from Brazilian Anderson makes him unlikely to be a first choice above the other three.

Moyes could choose to select defender Phil Jones as a holding midfield, having fulfilled the position under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson when needed. But the lack of depth in the centre of the park is likely to provoke further criticism of United summer transfer policy, having chosen to bring in just Fellaini after failing in their attempts to sign Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera.

Luka Modric, who United were reportedly interested in offering a route back to the Premier League, yesterday ruled out any return to England, and stated that he intends to retire at the Santiago Bernabeu should the future allow him to.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Watch this commuter make a mad 320-metre, 75-step dash to work
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week