Olyroos midfielder Zach Duncan faces up to 10 months on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament on his return to action for Danish Superliga side AGF Aarhus.
The 19-year-old was replaced by compatriot Mustafa Amini after just 23 minutes of AGF’s first match since the coronavirus lockdown - a 1-1 draw with Rangers on Friday morning (AEST).
It’s a bitter blow for the tigerish competitor who has been earmarked as the long-term successor to Amini at AGF, with the Socceroos midfielder set to leave Denmark for a fresh challenge elsewhere at season’s end.
Brisbane Roar product Duncan - who has made 13 appearances in a breakthrough first season - must now undergo surgery and a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
The only silver lining for Duncan is that with the Tokyo Olympics deferred until mid-2021, he has time to get himself back up to speed as an integral member of Graham Arnold’s U-23 armoury.
AGF’s director of football Peter Christiansen last year lauded Duncan as an important signing for the club, and a player with a promising international future ahead of him at senior level with the Socceroos.
“He certainly has that quality,” he said. “He has quick feet and when he turns with the ball and sets tempo ... it’s something that is rare in football and is also one of the attributes that Mustafa Amini has.
“I don’t know why but we have to go to Australia to find it.”