Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has reportedly been ruled out for a month with a broken toe, just days after Jose Mourinho publicly slammed him.
The United boss was critical of both Smalling and Luke Shaw after the pair were unable to feature against Swansea City last weekend as he was evidently irritated that they weren’t willing to play through the pain barrier.
However, according to The Daily Mail, further tests have revealed that Smalling has sustained a broken toe and will now be sidelined for a month to leave Mourinho with no leg to stand on over the controversial decision to come out and publicly criticise his defender.
The England international will miss key games against Arsenal, Tottenham, Feyenoord in the Europa League and West Ham United in the EFL Cup with Mourinho already left without Eric Bailly after he suffered a knee injury last month.
Phil Jones returned last week to offer some relief, but it remains to be seen as to whether or not United have solid enough options at the back to get their season back on track and come through a hectic schedule over the Christmas period with a successful run of results.
Nevertheless, it’s certainly a turn of events that Smalling has a genuinely bad injury to now contend with, perhaps proving to those that criticised Mourinho over his comments that he was overly harsh.
Shaw will also receive support given that it must be tough for him after suffering such a serious injury last year that any pain he may feel in that leg will be a cause for concern for any player.
Nevertheless, Smalling will now be forced to watch on from the sidelines with Mourinho possibly thinking twice before questioning the bravery of his players with the Mail adding that the 26-year-old had injections to play against Chelsea in the 4-0 loss at Stamford Bridge last month.