Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is set for a spell on the sidelines after reportedly breaking his toe in training.

Sky Sports is suggesting that the former Fulham defender, who has captained the Red Devils in Wayne Rooney’s absence this season, will be out for a month.

The 26-year-old aggravated the injury in a light training session earlier this week and will miss key fixtures against both Arsenal and Feyenoord at Old Trafford.

Smalling, who has won two Premier League titles and one FA Cup during his time at the club, has been the subject of criticism from manager Jose Mourinho over his willingness to play through the pain barrier.

“There are ones for whom a little pain can make a big difference” the Portuguese manager said after the 3-1 victory over Swansea last weekend.

While this comment was heavily suspected to be aimed at the centre-back and his international teammate Luke Shaw, the fact that Smalling could now be out until after Christmas paints an embarrassing picture for Mourinho.

Given that Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia are both already on the sidelines, United now head into a frantic festive period without three key defenders as they look to make up some ground on the top four.


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