Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen has been ruled out for up to three months with an ankle injury.
This has dealt a significant blow to the English Premier League (EPL) club’s hopes for the remainder of the season.
The Denmark player had to come off in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Reading on Saturday in the English FA Cup fourth round following a foul by Andy Carroll.
A statement from the club on Tuesday said he was “likely to be out until late April or early May”.
That means the 30-year-old will miss the start of Denmark’s 2024 European Championship qualifying campaign with matches at home to Finland and away to Kazakhstan in Group H in late March.
Eriksen had needed life-saving treatment on the pitch in June 2021 after suffering a near-fatal cardiac arrest in a 2020 European Championship match against the Finns.
But he has been instrumental in Manchester United’s impressive form this term.
He has played 31 of Manchester United’s 32 matches in all competitions this season, scoring two goals and providing nine assists.
The midfielder joined Manchester United last year after leaving fellow Premier League side Brentford, where he had re-established his career on a short-term deal after his heart problems.
“We are disappointed about it. But it happens in top football,” Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said on Tuesday.
“We have to deal with it. We have good players in the midfield department, but I think we can never fill that because every player has his own characteristics.
“Cristian Eriksen brings top quality and especially in some specifics that is hard to replace. His impact in the final third.”
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg tie at home to Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag said it would be difficult to sign a replacement on transfer deadline day.
Manchester United are 3-0 up from the first leg.