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Blow for Balotelli as surgery to rule him out for 'up to six weeks'

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been ruled out for "up to six weeks" after the club revealed he is to undergo knee surgery.

The high-profile summer signing has been suffering with the injury recently and it has been decided he will go under the knife in a bid to cure the problem.

The Italy international has returned to Milan as City confirmed the injury to his lateral meniscus. They had hoped to avoid surgery but after his recovery suffered a set-back, an operation became necessary.

A statement on mcfc.co.uk said: "The Italian's injury is to the lateral meniscus, one of the two most crucial structures in the knee, and medical wisdom is to try and encourage the problem to heal without recourse to an operation.

"It was hoped that the symptoms would settle down but once Balotelli began to step up his recovery programme this week, it became clear that action would need to be taken."

Balotelli is set to miss key matches against Chelsea in the Premier League and Juventus in the Europa League but could return for the visit of Arsenal on October 24.



Another injury setback for Walcott and Gunners

THEO Walcott's stop-start career suffered another setback last night when he was ruled out for six weeks with an ankle injury.

A scan on the injury he sustained ten minutes into England's 3-1 win over Switzerland on Tuesday night revealed ligament damage to his right ankle that will keep him on the sidelines until the end of next month. Fabio Capello, the England manager, had originally predicted a two-week layoff after speaking to the player before leaving Basle.

Walcott's latest injury is a huge blow to Arsenal and England, but more pertinently to the player himself, who has responded impressively to being left out of Capello's World Cup squad to re-establish himself as first choice for club and country.

The 21-year-old has begun the season in magnificent form, scoring four goals in three Barclays Premier League games, including a hat-trick against Blackpool, and starting all of England's three matches. This month Walcott attributed the improvement to his determination to bounce back from missing the World Cup, as well as the benefits of enjoying a first full pre-season without injury for three years.

Walcott's brief career has been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows but the recurrence of injuries has been the one constant theme.



Toshack ready to end term as Wales boss with Giggs linked

Wales manager John Toshack will clarify his position today after considerable speculation in recent days that he is poised to quit.

The 61-year-old's future has been the subject of intense speculation since Wales were beaten 1-0 in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro last Friday.

Toshack held meetings with the Football Association of Wales this morning before this afternoon's press conference. The ex-Real Madrid boss is expected to announce he is standing down after almost six years in charge.

But it remains to be seen whether that means he will leave the post immediately or remain in charge for next month's qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland while a successor is found. While Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs have been linked with the job, others reports have suggested U21 boss Brian Flynn, formerly manager of Wrexham and Swansea, could take over on a caretaker basis.


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