Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Marcus Rojo will miss the start of the 2017/18 season as he is still recuperating from a serious knee injury sustained in April.
The Argentina international was expected to leave the Reds prior to the start of last season, but he decided to stay put with a view to fighting for his future under Mourinho.
Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were initially picked to take up the central defensive duties at Old Trafford, but the injury to the pair allowed Rojo to form a brilliant partnership alongside Phil Jones.
Under the Rojo-Jones combination, United managed to start an unbeaten run in November which extended for a record 25 games before they were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates in May.
Rojo managed to command a regular spot at left-back following the returns of Bailly and Smalling, but his season was curtailed in April after he sustained a cruciate ligament knee damage in the Europa League clash against Anderlecht.
Injured trio Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rojo all travelled for the Red Devils’ pre-season tour of the United States, but Mourinho admits that there is absolutely no chance that they will recover in time for the new campaign.
Shaw looks the most likely to make an early return in September followed by Young, but Rojo will be out for an extended spell until the turn of the year.
“No chance [of those players being ready] for the beginning of the Premier League,” Mourinho is quoted as saying by Sky Sports News. “Luke is the first one to recover. Marcos will be the last one and Ashley in between. So I would say Shaw will return in September, Young in October, Marcos in December or even January.”
Manchester United are currently discussing a suitable transfer for Chris Smalling to West Bromwich Albion, and they could yet move in for a new centre-back with Mourinho sticking with the three-at-the-back formation in pre-season.