Tom Thorpe’s loan spell at Birmingham City has been formally ended due to injury and he will return to Manchester United for further treatment.
The reliable centre-back, who captained United to FA Youth Cup glory in 2011, was supposed to be on loan until the end of the season but unfortunately picked up an injury just 14 minutes into his debut against Derby County on his first loan spell away from United.
He significantly damaged his ankle ligament after falling awkwardly and was stretchered off. It was hoped Thorpe might be able to overcome the injury but it has not worked out. There was no definite time scale put on his recovery.
After the injury, Blues boss Lee Clark lamented Thorpe’s luck and praised the attitude of him throughout.
He said: “He’s a terrific kid and we’re devastated for him. We were absolutely delighted to get someone of his quality. Manchester United rate him so highly and he’s been a brilliant lad.”
A regular in the Under-21 set up, Warren Joyce was surprised to see him facing a lengthy absence. “It’s frustrating for the boy,” he said.
“I did say to him that I’ve never known him be injured or even miss a day’s training due to illness or anything else.”
Clark labelled Thorpe’s short senior debut as ‘very accomplished’, a view which was echoed by Joyce.
He added: “It was a really good 14 minutes he had on his debut as well! I watched the game and was pleased with him. Every touch he had was impressive.
“He made important headers under his own bar, defended corners and started really well. It looked like he had been playing there for 10 years and not 10 minutes.”
Hopefully it won’t be long before he makes a full recovery. However, it is surprising that the loan is being terminated at the stage given that Birmingham seemed perfectly happy to wait until he had returned to fitness.