Manchester United’s unprecedented injury jinx is showing no sign of abating with the club revealing centre back Jonny Evans will be out for several weeks after sustaining an injury against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday.
Evans, whose fine form has been keeping Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane out of the side, limped off after 15 minutes of the Champions League clash with what looked like a hamstring problem.
The club announced on its official website that “The Northern Ireland defender suffered a thigh strain in the first half of our Champions League game with FC Copenhagen in Denmark on Wednesday.”
With Erik ten Hag having already confirmed that Lisandro Martinez will be out until Christmas after a second operation on his troublesome ankle and Luke Shaw still some time away from a return to action, the Red Devils are now down to three fit centre backs – Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof.
At yesterday’s press conference, Ten Hag admitted that “the build-up is not that fluid when one of them [Maguire or Varane] is playing from the left centre-half position. Licha obviously, Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof are right footed but they can play really comfortably from the left and they can make the right angles.”
This suggests that Lindelof will be playing left centre back in Evans’ place and it will come down to a choice between Maguire and Varane as to who partners him.
For Evans, if the “thigh strain” is indeed a hamstring injury, it will be the latest of several sustained by United players this season, with Casemiro and Aaron Wan-Bissaka among others to have missed chunks of the season.
It will also replicate the injury that Evans sustained for Leicester City in 2021/22 that kept him out of action for 109 days (source: transfermarkt.com).
Evans also missed a big chunk of last season with the Foxes after problems with his calf which ruled him out for 30 matches.
This susceptibility to injury is believed to be one of the reasons he was released by the relegated side, allowing him to become a free agent.
For United, the wisdom of bringing in players with bad injury track records such as Evans and loanee Sergio Reguilon, who also missed 29 games last season, is questionable, especially when they were drafted in to bolster an already injury-ravaged defence.
United now have seven unavailable first team stars, with Tyrell Malacia and Amad Diallo also currently out of action in addition to Evans, Casemiro, Martinez and Shaw, and Jadon Sancho still exiled from the team after a bust-up with the manager.