Despite playing the entire duration of the weekend game against Swansea, Manchester United have been rocked by the news that Belgian midfielder, Marouane Fellaini has been forcibly withdrawn from national team assignment due to injury. The 28-year-old has been sent back to the medical team at Old Trafford to assess the extent of the injury he sustained. Though much derided last season, the former Everton man has played his way into the thoughts of Jose Mourinho, racking up 12 appearances in all competitions this season.
After jetting off for international duty after the Premier League win over Swansea over the weekend, Roberto Martinez, the Belgium manager confirmed that Fellaini has been withdrawn from the squad, throwing United into a mini panic mode, in which this month promises to be crucial if they are to be successful this season. The 20-time English champions are in for a crucial November, as they look to steadily climb up the Premier League table and also progress into the next round of the Europa League. The extent of the injury is yet unknown, as the club has confirmed that he is indeed injured.
Speaking to journalists in the pre-match conference ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, Martinez said that, “Fellaini picked up an injury against Swansea City and will go back to his club.”. “We have a core of 24 players which is enough” he added.
Fellaini joined Manchester United in 2013 from Everton in a £27m deal, the first signing of the ill-fated David Moyes era and signed a five year deal which expires in the summer of 2018.
Fellaini is primarily a defensive midfielder, though, he has been deployed further forward due to his aerial threat. He offers a reassuring presence in midfield, and offers versatility in a number of positions. United are sweating on his fitness as they face Arsenal immediately after the international break. That fixture is so crucial for confidence as the Red Devils aim to beat a team they have a good record against in recent years, and added to the fact that manager, Jose Mourinho has never lost a competitive match to Arsenal.
By Dave Marshall