Leicester City are hoping to have full-back Timothy Castagne available for the start of the Premier League season as he continues to recover from surgery on a fractured eye socket.
The Belgian suffered a horrific injury barely 25 minutes after his country’s debut Euro 2020 game against Russia, an accidental heads-up clash excluding him from the game and the tournament.
After suffering multiple fractures, Castagne underwent a six-hour operation last week, suggesting that had the impact been three centimeters higher, the collision would have ended his career.
Despite the severity of the injury, it is understood the club believe he will likely be able to compete in the preseason.
City return to Seagrave in July and host friendlies against Burton, Wycombe and QPR as they prepare for the new campaign, which kicks off at home against Wolves on August 14.
Castagne’s replacement as Belgium’s right-winger was Thomas Meunier of Borussia Dortmund, 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 return to his best level quickly.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Meunier said at a press conference on Wednesday. “It was his first international tournament and he was starting the games. It’s a sad way for him to have to leave the team.
“I texted him the day after his surgery to find out how he was feeling. He must have been bombarded with messages.
“But the main thing is that everything is going well and that the operation has gone 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.
This length of absence would keep him away from the first weeks of the campaign, which would entitle City to compensation from Fifa.
The governing body’s club protection program pays up to € 20,548 per day to teams whose players have been injured in international service.
Compensation kicks in once a player has been out for more than 28 days, and so if Castagne’s injury only brought him back after the Premier League games have started, City could make a claim.