England winger Stewart Downing will miss next month’s World Cup qualifiers after Middlesbrough confirmed he needs surgery on a foot injury.
The 24-year-old damaged his right foot against Aston Villa last weekend and a scan has confirmed he will need an operation which will also delay his start to pre-season training.
Boro assistant boss Malcolm Crosby said: "He is out for two or three months at least. That's not good news for him or the club.
"Stewart has played every game for us this season and has made a big contribution. He hasn't scored goals, but he has worked extremely hard.
"He is facing an operation and will be very frustrated.
"I have looked at the challenge again by Stiliyan Petrov and while it was a clumsy challenge, I think it was an accident. I don't think that for one minute he meant to do it.”