Manchester United have announced that their U21 skipper Tom Thorpe has suffered a serious-looking injury in the 5-0 win over Blackburn on Tuesday night.
The game made headlines across England because it represented the return of both Ander Herrera and Jonny Evans, both of whom played a part in the victory. Louis van Gaal would have been please to see two first team stars returning from injury, but the 21-year-old may have added to his problems.
Thorpe came off worse in a crunching tackle and was stretchered off. No official announcement has been made on the centre-back's condition, but the Red Devils are due to make a statement in the next 24 hours.
"Skipper Tom Thorpe was forced off with a serious-looking injury to leave United down to ten men for the closing stages"
However, their official website has reported that the injury looked serious, drawing fears that Thorpe could be set for lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The official website stated: "Skipper Tom Thorpe was forced off with a serious-looking injury to leave United down to ten men for the closing stages"
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If Manchester United's fears are confirmed it would be a huge blow for the young defender, who recently broke into the first team. The U21 skipper was brought on during United's 2-1 win over West Ham in September having impressed Louis van Gaal.
Along with Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair, Thorpe was tipped to become a first team regular in the near future. But a serious injury at such a crucial time could spell the end of his chances to make it at Old Trafford.
Thorpe was loaned out to Championship side Birmingham City for the second half of last season and enjoyed a fruitful spell at St Andrew's. He started six games for Birmingham between February and April and impressed despite Birmingham losing four out of those six.
He joined the club as a 16-year-old and has worked his way up the ranks to earn the armband for the U21 side. Thorpe has also enjoyed a long spell with England at youth level, appearing for every age group from the U16s to the U21s.