Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will be out of action for two months after suffering a hairline fracture of his left foot in Manchester United's game with Reading yesterday.
Rooney suffered the injury near the end of the first half of the goalless draw at Old Trafford in an accidental collision with Royals defender Michael Duberry.
Although the 21-year-old briefly continued, he did not reappear after half-time and was sent for a scan, the results of which ensured Rooney will now miss United's next eight Premier League games, as well as the club's first two Champions League group matches.
He is also ruled out of England's friendly international with Germany next week and the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia at Wembley in September.
Ferguson said: 'We are putting it at two months. He should be back training in that time but I can't put an exact date on when he will be back playing.
'It is a bad blow, not just for us, but obviously for England as well.'
Ferguson confirmed that new arrival Carlos Tevez will start Wednesday's Premier League encounter at Portsmouth, and revealed he spoke to Steve McClaren yesterday evening to give him the bad news.
The Scot continued: 'I am obviously disappointed and I could sense Steve's disappointment as well.
'It is obviously bad news for England but they should be able to cope without him against Israel and Russia - and by the time we get to the October matches I would expect him to be back by then.'
Ferguson's optimism would require Rooney to hit his recovery target exactly if he is to make the October 13 qualifier against Estonia and the vital trip to Moscow for the Russia rematch four days later.
The United boss is acutely aware that Rooney was back in action within six weeks when he broke his foot prior to the 2006 World Cup - but it was deemed to be far too soon for the young striker, who failed to produce anything like his best form in Germany.
Rooney missed 14 weeks after suffering a similar injury during Euro 2004, which delayed his debut for United following his £27million move from Everton.