Manchester United youngster Callum Gribbin has suffered a major injury blow after fracturing his fibula in training.
The 18-year-old, widely regarded as one of the most technically adept midfielders in the youth ranks, was promoted from the Under 18s to the reserves last season and captained the Under 19s in the Dallas Cup over the summer.
He was one of the star performers in Texas, claiming goals against Eintracht Frankfurt and Real Salt Lake, and was in line for a promising campaign under Ricky Spragia until going over on his ankle in training ahead of Friday night’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
And Spragia, speaking to the club’s official website, was notably disappointed to lose such a technically gifted player ahead of the UEFA Youth League next month.
We are hugely disappointed to lose Callum with the injury but know that he will come back stronger once his recovery is complete,” he said.
“These things can happen at any moment and it was just an accident where he went over on his ankle in training. Once he was assessed, we realised the damage and it is really unfortunate for him and the squad, after a great pre-season.
“We don’t want to put a timeframe on his comeback but he has the best possible support network around him and will get back into the rhythm once he is back on the training pitch.”
Determining how long Gribbin will be out for, as Spragia notes, is far from simple. A fractured fibula takes a minimum of four weeks to recover and, depending on severity, takes even longer before the recipient is able to play at a high intensity. He should be back to playing in two months.
The 18-year-old will be extremely disappointed at being consigned to the sidelines so soon after being promoted to the reserves. This was meant to be a period dedicated to imposing himself at this new level but he will have to wait for his turn to pique Spragia’s – and then perhaps Jose Mourinho’s – attention this year.