Manchester United have suffered a major pre-season injury blow after England defender Chris Smalling was ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a broken metatarsal.
Smalling had been training at United's Carrington HQ after recovering from a thigh injury that ended his hopes of appearing at Euro 2012.
However, it has now been confirmed the 22-year-old has suffered a new setback.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: "He got an injury on the Wednesday and, straight away, we decided to have the operation, so he's out.
"It's difficult to say with a metatarsal but it could be 10 weeks.
"He's not carrying any luck, the kid, but he's young and we've done the right thing in getting it done immediately and getting him back on the road as quickly as we can."
Even if Smalling recovers within the timescale anticipated, it would rule him out until the end of September.
That would mean the former Fulham man missing United's opening six Premier League games, plus their opening Champions League match.
In addition, it would condemn Smalling, of whom Roy Hodgson is a big fan, to sit out three England games for certain, and, in all probability, October's World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Poland too given the limited time the Londoner would have had to get fit.