Double injury blow for Socceroos
The Socceroos have suffered a double injury blow ahead of the start of their World Cup qualifiers, with goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and winger Martin Boyle both facing surgery and months of rehab.
Vukovic has ruptured his Achilles tendon and is likely to be missing into the new year, while Boyle - only just returned from a knee injury suffered on international duty at the end of last year - is out "for the foreseeable future" after reinjuring it for his club Hibernian.
The latter injury will be keenly felt by Socceroos boss Graham Arnold, who persuaded Boyle to throw his lot in with Australia last year but saw him injured on the eve of the Asian Cup, since when he has not figured in the green and gold.
Luck certainly isn’t on my side at the moment but am sure happier times are round the corner. Will take this on the chin and work even harder to get back to complete fitness. The team will have my full support again. Thank you for all your messages, I appreciate them all. 🙌🏼💚 https://t.co/nfmw7yw44d— Martin Boyle (@MartinBoyle9) July 30, 2019
Vukovic meanwhile has had a remarkable two years in Belgium halted by the injury which was confirmed by his agent Mikkel Beck. Having won the Belgian league and Super Cup last season, and player of the season the year before - as well as earning selection for the Socceroos squad at last year's World Cup - Vukovic, 34, now faces "a long and hard recovery", Beck said on Twitter.
The recovery time or a ruptured Achilles is four to six months, and realistically Vukovic's age means a period towards the end of that scale is likely.
Thanks for all the messages. Surgery went well and have already started the recovery process. Honestly devastated but was given a small reminder when I turned on the tv in my hospital room. My boy with his papa on the pitch. We will be back out there together soon enough! 💙 pic.twitter.com/vpShbPjOWv— Danny Vukovic (@vuka20) July 30, 2019
"Surgery went well and have already started the recovery process," the goalkeeper said on Twitter. "Honestly devastated but was given a small reminder when I turned on the TV in my hospital room. My boy with his papa on the pitch. We will be back out there together soon enough!"
Boyle meanwhile will also have fresh surgery on the knee injured last Friday against Elgin City, only his third game back since damaging it against Oman on December 30 last year.
"There's no doubting it's a blow because I put everything into my recovery in the last few months," he told the Hibernian website.
"The positive is that I know what the rehabilitation entails, and I'm just determined to do things properly and get back to the level I know I can get to."
Australia begins its qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in September, with Boyle and Vukovic likely to miss the first four games.