Nigeria’s Onyekuru faces World Cup fitness battle

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Nigeria’s Henry Onyekuru is in danger of missing out on next year’s World Cup after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

The striker, who is on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht from English club Everton, suffered the injury against former club Eupen on 22 December.

Recent scans show the injury to be more serious than initially suspected.

“He could be out for as long as six months,” Anderlecht coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck told reporters.

It is a cruel blow for the 20-year-old, who had played in 19 league games and appeared in four Champions League matches for the Brussels outfit.

He was given a run out in Nigeria’s last World Cup qualifier in Algeria in November when he came on in the second half of the 1-1 draw and was hoping to make Gernot Rohr’s final 23-man squad for Russia in June.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will look to record their 19th victory of the season when they travel to Newcastle United tonight in the only English Premier League game on card.

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Manchester City have no new injury problems but could rotate their squad with the festive games coming thick and fast.

Defender John Stones is back in training after a hamstring injury but the game is likely to come too soon for him.

Newcastle will have Jonjo Shelvey available after suspension. Midfielders Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden both have knocks that will be assessed.

Newcastle have gone 19 Premier League matches without a victory in this fixture since a 1-0 home win in September 2005. Manchester City can set a new club record of 20 unbeaten league games against a specific opponent.

 

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