Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy will miss the first month of the new season with a hernia.

The Dutchman undergo an operation next week, but is not expected to recover until mid-September. Van Nistelrooy is expected to miss the Community Shield on Sunday, the Premier League eague matches against Chelsea, Norwich, Blackburn and Everton, and the Champions League qualifiers against Dinamo Bucharest.

The 28-year-old had previously been the subject of intense transfer speculation with a move to Real Madrid mooted after he enjoyed a fruitful Euro 2004 – the strikers’ first international tournament – scoring 4 goals.

Van Nistelrooy’s absence could see a return to action for Diego Forlan. The Uruguayan was thought to be on his way out of Manchester, having been displaced as second striker by first Louis Saha, and following the arrival from Leeds of Alan Smith.