Aleksandar Mitrovic to undergo medical tests as he battles to be fit for World Cup


Aleksandar Mitrovic will face further medical examinations next week as he battles to be fit for the start of Serbia’s World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Mitrovic, who was named in Serbia’s 26-man squad for the tournament on Friday, has been ruled out of Fulham’s Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday due to an ongoing foot injury, which is now casting doubt over his fitness ahead of the tournament.

Speaking during a pre-match press conference on Friday, Fulham head coach Marco Silva denied that Mitrovic has suffered two fractures in his foot but stated that the striker faces late medical checks before the World Cup.

“Mitro had an exam after the Everton match again and it’s not true (about the fractures),” said Silva. “That’s the feedback that I have from our medical staff and of course it is what I have to trust.

“Because of that, Mitro was called up by the national team. Let’s see what will happen in the next few days. Mitro has to do a new exam next week to see how he is. But about a fracture, it’s not true. It’s in his bone, that’s true. But it’s not broken.”

Serbia are due to face Brazil in their opening match on November 24, and remain hopeful that Mitrovic will be fit for that game.

Mitrovic, who is Serbia’s all-time leading goalscorer, first suffered the injury on international duty in September during a 4-1 win over Sweden. The 28-year-old scored a hat-trick in Belgrade but was substituted following a challenge by Victor Lindelof in the 72nd minute. It was initially thought to be a minor knock and Mitrovic then completed 90 minutes for Serbia against Norway in Oslo three days later, something Silva feels he should not have done.

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“This is an injury that he got with the national team,” said Silva. “In one moment he got injured, and then after three days he played and probably shouldn’t have played in that game straightaway. Of course we were managing the situation for him to be as fit as he can for the matches. ”

Mitrovic has been managing the injury since he returned to Fulham and has not trained properly over the past month. He was substituted after 37 minutes during Fulham’s 4-1 defeat by Newcastle, and then missed the 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

He then returned to face Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Leeds United and Everton, scoring in three of those four matches. The striker remained keen to play and told television after the draw with Bournemouth last month that he had been taking painkillers to help manage the injury.

He missed Fulham’s defeat by Manchester City last weekend, though, after feeling more pain in his foot after the club’s 0-0 draw with Everton.

“What I can tell you is that it will be a decision made probably in the first days of the week, between the medical staff on the (Serbia) national team and our medical staff,” added Silva.

“To decide what is the best decision for him, and for us as a club as well because he is really important. I’m not the right person to say now whether he will be fit or not to be there. What I know right now is that he wasn’t ready for the last match and will not be ready for the next one, unfortunately for us.

“What I can also tell you is that he cannot be harmed. He cannot be harmed for something that will come from the decision.”

Asked what would happen if Fulham’s medical staff recommended Mitrovic did not play, but the player wished to go anyway, Silva said: “Another difficult question for me because you are supposing something that will happen. We don’t know. Mitro wants to be in the World Cup, Mitro wanted to available for Sunday here against Man United, and he wanted to play against City. This is the thing, it is not just because he wanted to be there. You have to wait for the decision from the medical staff. After, together, we’ll take a decision.”

Mitrovic scored eight goals for Serbia during World Cup qualifying, including the winner against Portugal in Lisbon last November, which secured his country’s passage to Qatar. He has also been in excellent form for Fulham this season, scoring nine goals from 12 Premier League matches.

Serbia are in group G with Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon, and head coach Dragan Stojkovic is due to address the media on Monday ahead of the tournament.



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(Photo: Getty Images)


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