Surgery for Berbatov leaves door ajar for Owen
Monday 11 January 2010
Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is facing exploratory surgery on a knee problem, which risks adding to the injury troubles which have bedevilled the side's season.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted, after Berbatov had not even made the bench at St Andrew's for Saturday's draw with Birmingham, that surgery will be needed to assess a problem of fluid on the knee, which kept him out of the side throughout November. "He's been carrying this knee injury a little bit and we're trying to get him right," Ferguson said. "He played with it last week. He wanted to play with it [here.] We spoke about maybe a little exploratory operation to see what the issue is. We felt we should just try and get it sorted and get him fit again."
United have been desperate to avoid that outcome and Ferguson said only last month that United felt they had managed to nurse the player through it and he has played a part in every Premier League game since the start of December. Berbatov, who exacerbated the problem with a kick to the knee against Blackburn on 31 October, travelled with the United squad to St Andrew's and it seems likely he will undergo any exploratory surgery this week, which would mean him missing next weekend's home match with Burnley, and possibly another month.
Berbatov has had a dismal season, his six goals contributing to the sense that he might never deliver what Ferguson expected when he laid out £30.5m for him in August 2008, and has been criticised for dishing off to less established players despite his own struggles to make any impact.
United's lack of cutting edge has been exacerbated by the manager's disinclination to give Michael Owen a regular run of starts, with Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck also still marginal. Owen may see Berbatov's injury as his last chance of forcing his way into World Cup contention
Ferguson had clearly told Alex McLeish that he expected Berbatov to be absent for a time, during their post-match drink. "I'm sure that Berbatov will come back with all guns blazing," McLeish said. "Alex Ferguson will manage him in the right way and get the best out of him because I know he's good at that."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer latest: Arsene Wenger set to sign...no one on transfer deadline day as manager heads to Rome to referee charity match
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players as he looks to the long term
Radamel Falcao transfer latest: Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City linked with blockbuster move
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Tottenham vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? Raheem Sterling? Alberto Moreno? Or new-boy Mario Balotelli?
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage