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Callum McManaman, star of Wigan Athletic's stunning FA Cup triumph over Manchester City, is likely to be out for three months with an ankle injury, manager Roberto Martinez revealed on Friday.
The 22-year-old damaged ankle ligaments in Tuesday's 4-1 loss at Arsenal, which condemned Wigan to relegation from the Premier League, and will be unable to represent England at the Under-21 European Championship in Israel in June.
McManaman now faces a challenge to return to fitness in time for the start of next season, but Martinez took solace from the fact he will not require an operation.
"It's good news, because we expected the worst, but good news means he's going to be out for the best part of three months, but he doesn't need surgery and that's really positive," Martinez said.
"But probably that puts him out of the under-21s, which is a real shame because he really deserved to finish the season with that experience."
Martinez's future at Wigan is in doubt after he was installed as one of the favourites to succeed David Moyes at Everton, but the Spaniard urged McManaman to stay put at the DW Stadium despite the club's relegation to the Championship.
"If one player needs to stay at the club and become an important part of this football club, it's Callum," he said.
"He's been a phenomenal player for us, but he's someone who, at 22, needs to work on certain aspects to become the player he can be. He will be a top, top player, and probably the next 10 months are vital for him to be perfect in the programme that he has to fulfil.
"The Championship, for him to play week in, week out and have an important role, it will be the perfect challenge for him."