Leicester City are hopeful of having full-back Timothy Castagne available for the start of the Premier League season as he continues his recovery from surgery on a fractured eye socket.
The Belgian suffered the gruesome injury just 25 minutes into his nation’s first Euro 2020 fixture against Russia, an accidental clash of heads ruling him out of the game and the tournament.
After sustaining multiple fractures, Castagne underwent a six-hour operation last week, with suggestions that if the impact had been three centimetres higher, the collision would have ended his career.
Despite the severity of the injury, it is understood the club think it’s likely he will be able to take part in pre-season.
City return to Seagrave in July, and have friendlies scheduled against Burton, Wycombe, and QPR as they prepare for the new campaign, which kicks off at home to Wolves on August 14.
Castagne’s replacement as the right-sided wing-back for Belgium has been Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Meunier, who immediately stepped up, scoring one goal and assisting another after replacing Castagne against Russia.
Meunier has spoken to Castagne and expects the 25-year-old to quickly get back to his best.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Meunier said at a press conference on Wednesday. “It was his first international tournament and he was starting the matches. It’s a sad way for him to have to leave the team.
“I texted him the day after his operation to find out how he was feeling. He must have been bombarded with messages.
“But the main thing is that everything is fine, and the operation went well. It’s a new step for him but I know he will come back stronger.”
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Although City are more optimistic, Meunier suggested Castagne would need a 10-week rehabilitation period.
That length of absence would keep him out of the first few weeks of the campaign, which would entitle City to compensation from Fifa.
The governing body’s Club Protection Programme gives out payments of up to €20,548 per day to sides whose players have been injured on international duty.
The compensation comes into play once a player has been out for more than 28 days, and so if Castagne’s injury did not see him return until after the Premier League fixtures had begun, City would be able to make a claim.