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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2006, 17:30 GMT
Smith has successful leg surgery
Alan Smith
Smith broke a leg and dislocated an ankle against Liverpool
Manchester United midfielder Alan Smith has had an operation following his horrific leg injury at Anfield.

Smith, 25, suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle in United's 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Liverpool on Saturday.

A spokesman told the club website: "The operation was a success and Alan will stay in hospital for a couple of days.

"The leg will be in plaster for several weeks and everyone connected with the club is wishing Alan all the best for a speedy recovery."

Smith collapsed in agony after he tried to block a John Arne Riise free-kick in the closing stages of the fifth-round tie and may face nine months on the sidelines because of the injury to his left leg.

It is another bad blow for us and it sums up our season
Man Utd boss SirAlex Ferguson

United defender Gary Neville said he was "stopped in his tracks" by the severity of Smith's injury.

"Alan's injury puts it all into perspective," Neville told MUTV.

"We didn't get the chance to see him immediately after the game but all our thoughts are with him.

"It made what was a bad day 10 times worse. Sometimes things happen that stop you in your tracks, no matter how big the game you're playing in."

Aston Villa boss David O'Leary managed Smith at Leeds and told BBC Radio Five Live: "He is as strong a character as you could find and will come back better than ever."

O'Leary, who was in charge at Elland Road from 1998 to 2002, added: "I saw the replays and it looked shocking but hopefully we shall see him back soon because he has got a great career ahead of him.

"You never like to see anybody suffer those sorts of injuries but it is worse when it is someone you worked with and like very much."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said of the injury: "It's one of the worst I've seen. It's a very long-term injury."

The game was delayed by five minutes as Smith received treatment.

United's medical team were given help by Liverpool club doctor Mark Waller as Smith waited to be carried off on a stretcher.

Ferguson added: "I wasn't aware of what had happened because I was following the path of the ball but you saw the reaction of the players round about Alan and you knew it was a bad one.

"It is another bad blow for us and it sums up our season."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: David O'Leary on Alan Smith's injury



SEE ALSO
Liverpool 1-0 Man Utd
18 Feb 06 |  FA Cup


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