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Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo was forced off early with an unspecified injury during his side’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht on Thursday evening.
The Argentina international was stretchered off midway through the first period at Old Trafford, although the Red Devils gave no further information as to what was ailing their centre-back:
Manchester United @ManUtd
23′ – #MUFC are forced into an early change as Blind replaces Rojo, who leaves the field on a stretcher.
Get well soon, Marcos! #UEL
4/20/2017, 7:27:49 PM
Rojo has enjoyed a resurgence under manager Jose Mourinho this season, having previously settled into a fringe role in Manchester following his 2014 arrival at the club.
The Times‘ Duncan Castles reacted to Thursday’s setback by outlining Rojo’s transformation at Old Trafford this season, going from just a squad member to a highly valued component for the English powerhouse:
Duncan Castles @DuncanCastles
Hard to imagine saying this nine months ago, but Marcos Rojo’s injury an immense blow to Manchester United’s season. #MUNAND #ARG
4/20/2017, 7:29:06 PM
It was during Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling’s injury absences earlier this season that Rojo first shot to prominence, dazzling alongside Phil Jones and forming a solid alternative back-line pairing.
Blogger Liam Canning didn’t pull any punches when illustrating just how grievous the injury was for United’s campaign hopes, particularly with Smalling and Jones already on the sidelines:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
Gutting to see Marcos Rojo being stretchered off. For all his critics, he has been largely fantastic at centre-back. Will be a huge loss.
4/20/2017, 7:28:22 PM
In spite of his initial struggles in the English top flight, the former Sporting Lisbon defender has begun to more consistently demonstrate the kind of form that saw him attract United’s attention after the 2014 World Cup.
His versatility will also be a major loss considering Rojo can function in central defence or at left-back, with a greater pressure to perform likely to fall on Daley Blind’s shoulders during his spell on the sidelines.
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