Chris Smalling Injury: Updates on Manchester United Defender's Groin and Return

Stuart NewmanFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2014

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 04:  (L) Chris Smalling #12 of Manchester United is challenged by (R) Jordan Henderson #14 of Liverpool in the Guinness International Champions Cup 2014 Final at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Updates from Sunday, Sept. 21

Manchester United announced Chris Smalling's status for today's match:


Updates from Friday, Sept. 19

Manchester United's official Twitter feed:


Updates from Friday, Sept. 12

Manchester United's official Twitter feed has the latest on Smalling:


Original Text

Manchester United’s problems just keep piling up and up. They were dealt another injury blow Sunday with Chris Smalling limping off in the first half of their lacklustre 1-1 draw with Sunderland.     

The England international was replaced at the Stadium of Light by youngster Michael Keane, who may well have to get used to life in the first team after manager Louis van Gaal revealed that Smalling could potentially face time on the sidelines with groin trouble—per the club’s official Twitter feed:

Smalling has been the middle prong of Van Gaal’s three-man defence so far this season, and while his performances haven’t exactly been up to scratch, his injury will be a big blow for the Red Devils.

As Squawka Football revealed, the former Fulham man will join a whole host of United stars on the treatment table, suddenly making their squad appear rather bare:

That’s something that Van Gaal himself reflected on after Sunday’s draw, saying that he desperately needs a full-strength squad at his disposal—as Manchester United’s official website revealed:

“Of course, we have a lot of injuries right now," he said. "We had seven and now Smalling is already injured again so it is eight. You need all of your players. It is a groin injury, but we will have to wait and see how long. It is too early at the moment.”

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Steven Fletcher of Sunderland confronts Chris Smalling of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at Stadium of Light on August 24, 2014 in Sunderland, England.
Michael Regan/Getty Images

United face a tough-looking trip to newly promoted Burnley next weekend, and while some fans will relish potentially not having Smalling in the side, Van Gaal could have a real selection problem to deal with.

The Dutchman needs to hope that new signing Marcos Rojo is granted a work permit before the trip to Turf Moor, or a rather amateur-looking back three will line up.

The Red Devils’ performance at Sunderland proved that even a signing of Angel di Maria’s calibre won’t solve the club’s monumental squad problems, as a defence and midfield shake-up now looks absolutely essential.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Smalling may be forced to take to a life on the Old Trafford bench if Van Gaal brings in a high-profile defender in the coming days, but if he doesn’t, the 24-year-old will be an integral cog in the United machine.

That may be a little worrying for some, but should Smalling face a lengthy spell out of action, his replacements in the heart of defence will give fans even more cause for panic.