By Simon Stone
MANCHESTER UNITED have declared surgery on Alan Smith’s horror injury to be ‘a success’.
Smith is facing the possibility of 12 months on the sidelines after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle in a freakish manner as he tried to block John Arne Riise’s free-kick late in United’s 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool at Anfield yesterday.
The severity of the injury and the shocked reaction of players raised comparisons with the career-ending injury suffered by Coventry defender David Busst at Old Trafford in 1996.
However, the player’s agent Alex Black was quick to play down fears Smith may never play again and United officials are also hopeful about his future.
"The operation was a success," said a United spokesman. "Alan will remain in hospital for a couple of days and the leg will be in plaster for several weeks.
But, while the initial reaction of Liverpool fans to the incident was disgraceful, Black said Smith recognised most were offering sympathy as was stretchered off.
"He was a little bit delirious as he was coming off but he was able to recognise that not just the Manchester United fans but a lot of the Liverpool fans were giving him a good round of applause," Black said.