England striker Callum Wilson has sent a message of support to promising Carlisle United midfielder Josh Dixon, who is facing a long spell on the sidelines after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in training.

The 18-year-old first-year professional had only recently returned from a similar injury and is now facing another lay-off.

Manager Steven Pressley confirmed the “devastating” news today on the young player who had only last week been awarded a new two-year deal.

Dixon had impressed in training and in United’s first pre-season friendly against Hibernian.

Pressley says Carlisle were aware of the injury as they awarded him a new contract, and pledged the club would look after Dixon in his recovery.

He also revealed that Bournemouth and England striker Wilson, who played under Pressley at Coventry and has recovered from a similar injury, had contacted the teenager with a message of support.

United’s manager said: “We’re devastated for the kid first and foremost.

“After working so hard to come back, and making such an impression on us all, we were all really excited to be working with him and we were sure we had a real player there – and we still do have a real player there.

“He’ll just have to show the mentality that he did the previous year, knuckle down, focus and recover properly.

“There’s a number of players that have had similar situations. Callum Wilson, someone I previously worked with, sent him a wonderful message today, a video message, just wishing him the best of luck and giving him encouragement, telling him to keep working.

“It’s not the end of your career, a second [ACL injury]. He [Wilson] has demonstrated it, in scoring goals in the Premier League and leading the line for England, as have many others.

“We’ll give Josh every support possible but we’re obviously devastated for him.”

Pressley claimed it was a measure of United that they wanted to give Dixon an extended deal even as the extent of his injury emerged.

“Credit to David [Holdsworth, Carlisle's director of football], he was adamant we would do that.

“It’s speaks volumes for the club, that. It puts Josh’s mind in that he’s got the long-term stability, and it allows him to really focus on getting himself back and ready for next season.

“It’s really difficult for him to take and he’ll be in a dark place at this moment. But the club will give him every support and I’m sure we’ll see a terrific young player back come next season.”

Pressley, meanwhile, said left-back Jack Iredale would miss United’s next two friendlies as a precaution due to a thigh problem.

The summer signing has not been involved in the side since the Hibs game.

Pressley said: “Jack’s feeling a little bit of tightness in his thigh. It’s one of those injuries we don’t want to risk.

“He felt it a bit last week, came back and was still feeling it so he’s probably going to be five or six days before he’s back in competitive training.

“Probably his target is the Ross County game. We don’t want to push him before that and take any risks. These injuries can be [healed] with one week of rest, but if you push them you can be out for six weeks. We’re going to be careful in that respect.”