Wales fear David Brooks will miss the rest of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
Bournemouth forward Brooks underwent surgery after rolling his ankle in a pre-season game at the end of July.
The 22-year-old was originally ruled out for three months and Wales hoped he would be fit for their final qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary in mid-November.
But Wales boss Ryan Giggs says Brooks is unlikely to make those crucial dates.
“It’s a difficult one because he was still in a boot in the last camp,” Giggs said.
“It’s looking around November. Now whether that’s back playing or back actually training, I’m not too sure.
“Even if he’s on the bench or fit for Bournemouth the week before it will be difficult to pick him because he’s been out for so long.”
Wales resume their Euro qualifying programme in Slovakia on Thursday before entertaining Group E leaders Croatia in Cardiff three days later.
Giggs’ side are four points adrift of Croatia and three behind Slovakia and Hungary, with a game in hand on their rivals.
“We’ve always been playing catch-up, but we want to go into the last camp with it in our hands,” said Giggs, whose side have six points from four games after last month’s home win against Azerbaijan.
“At the start of the group you would think that 15 points would get you qualified.
“But it changes all the time because everybody keeps beating each other, and you just have to look after yourself.
“We could come out of these games with a couple of draws and still have a chance.
“But then it’s out of your hands, and ideally, we’ll win the games.”
Giggs has had enviable attacking talent at his disposal with Gareth Bale, Daniel James, Harry Wilson and Brooks all having played their part in the campaign.
He also hopes to call on Aaron Ramsey for the first time in Euro 2020 qualifying this week as the Juventus midfielder is finally free of injury.
“You can’t play them all (attackers),” Giggs said.
“A lot of the criticism was aimed at my style of play after Azerbaijan, but you don’t know until the Sunday night who you’re going to have and little time to work on stuff.
“You have to take it all into consideration because you can’t play four wingers or three number tens.
“We’re very blessed in those positions but it’s finding the right balance.”
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England manager Gareth Southgate does not believe Phil Foden needs to leave Manchester City on loan in order to continue his development.
The 19-year-old was described as the “most talented player I’ve ever seen” by City boss Pep Guardiola in the summer, but is struggling to break into a star-studded side at the Etihad Stadium.
He has played just 102 minutes this season – with 90 of those coming in a Carabao Cup game at Preston – meaning Southgate has overlooked him for his latest Three Lions squad this week.
As the season kicks into full swing, with City competing on four fronts, Southgate expects Foden’s game time to increase and has warned of the possible pitfalls of leaving on loan.
“Phil is still physically developing and I know Pep recognises the quality of the player, but equally the quality of the opposition around him,” the England boss said.
“So I’m sure in the coming months that game time will increase as the number of matches racks up.
“I think you should always assess those things halfway through the season and towards the end of the season to see how much football they’ve got, and then I’m sure they’ll make a decision on what’s right for him as a player.
“It isn’t always as straightforward as to go on loan because that is fraught with some difficulties as well at times with the style of play, different training regime, everything around him.
“But I know those discussions will be going on at Manchester City at the top.”
Southgate’s latest squad is packed with youngsters as Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has earned a maiden call and is joined by his team-mate Tammy Abraham.
Those two are getting regular action at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard and are getting the experiences to prime them for international football.
Given Foden’s tender age and the players he is competing with for a shirt at City, Southgate is prepared to be patient with him – and thinks others should be too.
“It’s a little bit harder to get in the side at those bigger clubs, but when you’re in, as the Chelsea boys are now, there’s a great opportunity to play important matches, (gain) big-match experience,” Southgate added.
“So, I’d probably try to calm Phil’s situation, because there’s a lot of expectation around him and I think that’s a huge pressure for a young player potentially.
“At the moment, a lot of his game has been forged with our junior team.
“That’s how he’s appeared on the scene, so we’re really happy with his progress.
“His mentality when playing with the under-21s in the last match was great. He needs those matches.
“He needs that stamina and that game time, and we think it’s right to put him on.”
Barcelona and Germany keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has hit back at Manuel Neuer’s criticism at his earlier statement.
The German team captain was unhappy with Ter Stegen voicing his frustration over not starting for his country and maintained that the goalkeepers must stick together as a unit.
The Barcelona custodian has hit back at Neuer, claiming that players without playing time are bound to be frustrated. He also defended himself, suggesting he has always behaved like a professional and his captain’s comments were uncalled for.
“Of course, I have something to say about that. You can’t call for competition and expect the players who don’t play to be happy about it”, he said during the press conference ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund.
“No one has to say anything about my feelings, that’s my personal opinion. If you look at the last few years, how I have conducted myself, then such statements are inappropriate.”