Reiziger faces six weeks out with shoulder injury

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The Independent Football

The Middlesbrough defender Michael Reiziger is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines after it was revealed he needs surgery to repair his damaged shoulder.

The Middlesbrough defender Michael Reiziger is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines after it was revealed he needs surgery to repair his damaged shoulder.

The 31-year-old former Barcelona full-back came off 71 minutes into Sunday's 5-3 Premiership defeat at Arsenal with a recurrence of the problem he first suffered in a pre-season friendly at Hansa Rostock.

Steve McClaren, the Middlesbrough manager, confirmed yesterday, as he prepared his side for tonight's trip to Fulham, that the former Dutch international will travel to Switzerland on Saturday where he will undergo an operation.

"Michael showed great character to play on Sunday but injured his shoulder," he said. "It's not right, so he'll be having an operation on Saturday to put that right and he could be out for a minimum of six weeks. It's a bit of a blow to us, but we know we've got a good player there, a good character, so we'll wait for him to come back.

"We just feel, at this stage of the season, it's better that he gets it fixed now rather than soldier on through the season with it," McClaren added.

Reiziger's injury means the whole of McClaren's first-choice back-four has been in the treatment room already this season.

The captain Gareth Southgate is still battling against a knee problem, while left-back Franck Queudrue missed the 2-2 draw with Newcastle with a groin injury and Ugo Ehiogu was unable to play at Highbury after damaging his back.

Southgate and Ehiogu trained yesterday but will be assessed before the manager names his team.

McClaren, despite his frustration, is confident his squad can cope with the early absences. "The season is nine months, it's 38 games - and, hopefully, we're going to play more than that," he said.

"Within football, we know you have to handle injuries, you have to handle suspensions. At some stage of the season, you're going to get them.

"Unfortunately for us, it's been to our back-four players in the first two weeks of the season. Once you get over that, then you see a lot of promise ahead."

McClaren confirmed that World Cup winner Juninho has agreed personal terms with Celtic and his third spell on Teesside will come to an end if the two clubs can come up with a deal.

"I think now the two clubs are getting together and just ironing out the final details, so I can't really comment until that is really done and dusted," McClaren said.

"Nobody likes to lose good players and Juninho has been a revelation for this football club on the three occasions he's been here.

"But as I say, he's not left the football club yet, and until he does, I can't really comment."

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