INJURED ARSENAL MIDFIELDER Jack Wilshere looks almost certain to miss at least the opening three months of the new Premier League season.
Manager Arsene Wenger said last weekend that he hoped the England international, who has not played a competitive match for 14 months, could figure for the Gunners before October.
But it appears the club are far more pessimistic about the midfielder’s recovery and do not expect him to return to first-team action until mid-November at the earliest.
The 20-year-old is regarded as some way short of full fitness and has not progressed beyond light training separate from the first-team squad, despite spending the whole summer working on his rehabilitation at the club’s London Colney headquarters.
Wilshere has suffered a series of setbacks in his recovery from an ankle injury originally sustained on England duty against Switzerland on 4 Junel ast year, leading him to pull out of Euro 2012 after missing the entire 2011-12 campaign and undergoing minor knee surgery in May. Wenger has delivered a series of increasingly negative medical bulletins about the recovery of one of Arsenal and England’s most precious assets.
The youngster was left behind to continue his rehabilitation while the club embarked on their pre-season tour of Asia and the club have been forced to again plan for the start of the new campaign without the star of their 2010-11 season.
“Hopefully, we will get Wilshere back playing for October,” Wenger told reporters on Sunday, before Arsenal’s final match of their Asia tour in Hong Kong. ”With Abou Diaby returning, it will be like signing two new players. The squad will be strong and competitive.”
Arsenal will continue to handle Wilshere’s recovery carefully, but it is not the first time that they have had a player supposedly on the road to recovery suffer seemingly endless setbacks. The Arsenal medical team have, in recent years, struggled to get to the bottom of long-term pain with Tomas Rosicky, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby, who have all had to endure nearly entire seasons on the sidelines.