Marcus Rashford has given hope to Manchester United and England fans after the injured striker said he'll be "back before the season ends" to help his side clinch a top-four spot in the Premier League.
Henry Winter of The Times said Rashford has a double stress fracture in his back following the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in a recent FA Cup third-round replay. He also needs to have a piece of floating bone in his ankle removed and could be sidelined for "two to three months."
Those setbacks have led to concerns over whether United's frontman will feature again this season, but Rashford allayed those fears on Twitter:
Winter said Rashford was carrying a single stress fracture in his back prior to the Wolves fixture, which was aggravated by a challenge during his 16-minute cameo off the bench at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the subject of criticism from some for his decision to play Rashford if he was unfit, though he's since denied putting his own interests above those of his player, per ITV:
The Norwegian refused to be drawn on whether his star would return by the end of the season, per BBC Sport's Simon Stone: "Marcus is going to get as long as he needs. We are not going to risk him when he has had an injury. When he comes back he will be 100 per cent fit."
England manager Gareth Southgate could see his UEFA Euro 2020 preparations disrupted by recent injuries. One of his other senior stars in attack, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, recently tore his hamstring and isn't expected to return to training until April.
Rashford has scored more goals than any other United player this season—19 in all competitions—and already marked this as the most prolific campaign in his career to date (his previous best was 13).
That haul includes 14 Premier League goals, though his hopes of challenging for the division's Golden Boot look likely to end in January:
The Red Devils sit fifth in the Premier League ahead of Wednesday's clash at home to Burnley, when 18-year-old Mason Greenwood will hope to make just his fourth top-flight start.
United lost 2-0 away to leaders Liverpool when they played their first game following Rashford's injury on Sunday, with Solskjaer under pressure to find alternative solutions until his star returns.