Manchester United are concerned that Antony has suffered a recurrence of the ankle injury that sidelined him for two months last season. The Brazilian was stretchered off in the 29th minute of United’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Chelsea on Thursday night, a result which guaranteed the club’s participation in the Champions League next season. It came at a cost, however, with Antony reduced to tears and howling in pain as he clutched his ankle following an innocuous challenge from Trevoh Chalobah. The Chelsea defender won the ball cleanly and there was minimal contact with Antony, but the Brazilian required lengthy treatment and was unable to put any weight on his leg, eventually being carried off by the physios.
United’s medical team are still assessing the full extent of the damage but BBC Sport are reporting that the club fear he could be set for a lengthy spell out of action. Antony suffered a similar ankle injury in a World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Bolivia back in April 2022 and missed Ajax’s final seven games of the Eredivisie campaign as well as the Dutch Cup final. In total, he was unable to train for two months and returned to pre-season later than many of his team-mates, with his focus initially on rehabilitation rather than fitness.
There are now concerns that Antony will face a similarly prolonged period on the sidelines, which means he faces a race to get back to full fitness before the 2023-24 Premier League season kicks off on August 12. United’s players are set to report back to Carrington for pre-season training at the start of July, with their first friendly coming on the 12th against Leeds – giving Antony around six weeks to recover. At this stage it looks severely unlikely that Antony will be able to play in the FA Cup final against Manchester City next weekend, though the club’s medical team are still yet to ascertain the extent of the injury. Manager Erik Ten Hag replied when asked about the severity of Antony’s injury: ‘I don’t know. Everyone has seen he came off. I can tell you that it’s serious but we have to wait a minimum 24 hours and then we know probably more about the status of his injury.’
Antony has underwhelmed a little since his £85million move from Ajax last summer, netting just four goals and laying on two assists in 25 Premier League appearances. With Manchester United now guaranteed Champions League football next season, they will be hoping that Antony can make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2023-24 season.