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Monday 22 September 2014

Arsenal fume over Agger's tackle on Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup after being ruled out for six weeks with a fractured foot following a tackle by Denmark's Daniel Agger that has left Arsenal fuming.

MATT LAW

Published 07/03/2014 | 07:58

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Arsenal are upset with Liverpool defender Daniel Agger over the challenge that delivered a crushing blow to the club’s trophy hopes and Jack Wilshere’s World Cup dream.

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Wilshere on Thursday discovered that Agger’s first-half tackle during England’s friendly victory over Denmark caused a hairline fracture in his left foot that will rule him out for at least six weeks and could end his season.

It is understood Wilshere was cursing his bad luck over the injury, but still believes he can make the plane to Brazil after specialists told the midfielder he can return in time for the World Cup.

Wilshere was left in agony by Agger in the 12th minute, but played on until the 59th minute at his own request. Rather than blaming England manager Roy Hodgson and the FA, Arsenal are less than impressed with Agger.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis was at Wembley and watched the incident in his seat next to FA chairman Greg Dyke. Manager Arsène Wenger is a critic of international friendlies during busy domestic schedules.

The feeling inside the Emirates is that Agger’s challenge was over the top and not appropriate for what was meant to be a friendly fixture. The Dane’s club, Liverpool, are level on points with Arsenal in the Premier League title race.

Arsenal and Wilshere hope he will be back in time to play in their final two games of the season against West Brom on May 3 and Norwich on May 11, before Hodgson names his initial 30-man World Cup squad on May 13.

But there are fears 22-year-old Wilshere may not play for his club again this season, which would leave Hodgson a huge problem.

The England manager and his staff will give Wilshere every opportunity to prove his fitness, which may see him named in the 30-man party for the Portugal training camp and Peru game even if he has barely played for Arsenal.

Wilshere, though, would have to demonstrate his full fitness in time for Hodgson to take his final 23-man squad to Miami for friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras before travelling on to Brazil.

Following a scan at Wembley on Wednesday night, Wilshere was confident he had not suffered any serious damage, but alarm bells started ringing when he noticed swelling and pain on Thursday.

Wilshere feared he could have suffered a stress fracture that would definitely have ended his season and World Cup hopes, but a second scan revealed the hairline fracture.

The injury will take at least six weeks to heal, but Wilshere may also need another fortnight to regain his fitness and cannot afford any sort of delay or setback.

He is able to work on his aerobic fitness in the gym while he rests his foot and plans to do everything possible to keep himself in peak condition and give himself the best chance of going to the World Cup.

Speaking at Wembley before he found out about the hairline fracture or noticed the swelling, Wilshere said: “When I was going for that tackle I thought ‘I’m going to get this’ and then about a step before, I thought ‘No I’m not’.

“But I’m not going to pull out of a tackle. If I had pulled out I would have got hurt even more. But that’s football. Agger is a committed player, he has shown that for Liverpool, and I’m a committed player as well. It was one of those. We were both going to go for it, and, unfortunately, I was the one who came out a little bit worse.

“It was painful, but I got through to half-time. I sat down at half-time and it stiffened up a bit. Probably the worst thing I did then was not move it around enough.”

Asked whether he was a certainty for Brazil even before the injury, Wilshere had said: “No definitely not. I think between now and May is the crucial time. With your club you can really get in the manager’s thoughts.

“We know the manager and his coaching staff watch every game, so there is no hiding place. I don’t feel that I’m a definite on there. I’ve got a lot of work to do before now and May. You have got to stay fit, that’s the most important thing, and then we will see what happens.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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