MANCHESTER UNITED midfielder Michael Carrick admits he will find it difficult to sit on the sidelines well into December as he recovers from injury.
The 32-year-old has been ruled out for up to six weeks with an Achilles tendon problem, meaning he could miss at least six Premier League matches, two Champions League ties – one away to Bayer Leverkusen – and United's League Cup quarter-final clash at Stoke City.
"A few weeks out for me. Hate missing games!" the midfielder wrote on Twitter.
"Not used to this injury business. Heal quick n come back stronger!!"
Carrick played in United's 1-0 win over Arsenal last Sunday, but withdrew from the England squad preparing for friendlies against Chile and Germany next Tuesday.
He underwent a procedure where he had an injection to reduce the swelling around the affected Achilles, however, it is understood that claims he may require an operation are wide of the mark, although he will be out of action for a while.
"We can confirm that Michael Carrick will be out for four to six weeks with an Achilles injury," United confirmed in a statement.
Carrick has appeared in 15 of United's 18 matches this season and his absence leaves manager David Moyes short in central midfield – an area which he tried to strengthen in the summer.
Six weeks on the sidelines would take Carrick up to the St Stephen's Day clash at Hull. However, if he is out for the full duration, it seems unlikely Moyes will throw him straight back into action in the midst of the busy festive programme, and he may not be match-fit for the Hull game or the trip to Norwich two days later.
Carrick's United team-mate Danny Welbeck also pulled out of the England squad on Tuesday as he continues to battle with a knee injury which has kept him out since October 19.
His situation will continue to be managed by United, but there is no suggestion yet he will require surgery.
Team-mate Phil Jones admits the absence of Carrick will be a blow just as United are looking to push on following the Arsenal defeat, sitting just three points behind second-placed Liverpool and five adrift of the Gunners at the top.
"He is a great player and will be missed for club and country," said Jones.
"He brings a lot to the side, with his range of passing. He will be sorely missed."
On Welbeck, he added: "He has done well on the international stage when he has been picked for England and he's another great player. Hopefully he'll be back soon."