Armenian FA explain Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s absence from Stoke City clash

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Much was expected of Henrikh Mkhitaryan upon his £26 million move to Manchester United in the summer transfer window.

Having scored and assisted 11 and 15 goals respectively in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund last season, it seemed the Red Devils had signed a player capable of reinvigorating their attack.

And yet, seven games into the new Premier League campaign and Mkhitaryan has made very little impact.


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Injuries appear to have blighted the early stages of his United career but zero goals and zero assists in four appearances is a worrying return, albeit over the course of just 107 minutes.

His exclusion from the squad to face Stoke City on Sunday raised a few eyebrows but the Armenian Football Federation (FFA) have now cleared up why he missed out.

A letter sent to them by United’s doctor, Steve McNally, wrote: "Henrikh is still undergoing late stage rehabilitation from the left thigh muscle injury that he sustained earlier this month whilst playing for Manchester United.

"Although his progress has been good over the past week, he is participating in limited aspects of team training and is not yet able to train fully without restrictions or play competitively.

"In view of that I would be grateful if he could be allowed to withdraw from the National Team for the forthcoming training camp and FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches in order to remain in Manchester to complete his rehabilitation."

The FFA have released their own statement on Mkhitaryan, who hasn’t played for United since last month’s defeat to Manchester City.

"Henrikh Mkhitaryan will probably miss upcoming matches of Armenian national team against Romania and Poland," it said.

"Football Federation of Armenia received an official letter from Manchester United FC on the permission of Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal from upcoming training camp and official matches."

United fans were understandably confused by Mkhitaryan’s absence against Stoke after the 27-year-old claimed he had returned to training last week and was close to full fitness.

He said: "Really happy to have started training with [the] team and I am on my way to getting fully fit!"

Even manager Jose Mourinho appeared to indicate that Mkhitaryan was available for selection but that turned out not to be the case.

The Portuguese must now take caution with his Armenian star, who will undoubtedly be feeling the pressure of justifying his £26 million price tag following such an undesirable start to life at the Theatre of Dreams.

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