Soccer

Thursday 31 July 2014

Wilshere takes some time away

Published 07/03/2014|10:17

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Jack Wilshere had appeared fine following the tackle

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed midfielder Jack Wilshere has taken some time away after he was ruled out for at least six weeks with a foot injury suffered on international duty with England.

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The 22-year-old faces at least six weeks on the sidelines after tests showed he had sustained a hairline fracture in his left foot following a hefty tackle from Liverpool defender Daniel Agger early in Wednesday night's friendly against Denmark at Wembley.

Wilshere played on following treatment until he was replaced on the hour, and afterwards maintained it was "just a bruise" when he spoke to reporters, having been initially assessed by the Football Association.

It is understood the fracture was so minuscule that the scanning equipment within Wembley failed to detect the issue following a precautionary examination by England's medical staff, and i t was only when Arsenal, via an independent radiologist, conducted a more detailed test of the injured area that the real problem became more apparent.

Although Wilshere's place in the World Cup squad - a provisional 30-man party is set to be named on May 13 - does not look initially in any serious jeopardy, the midfielder is nevertheless now set to miss at least eight club fixtures - starting with Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Everton and then next week's second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie away to Bayern Munich.

Wenger said at a press conference on Friday morning: "I believe it (tackle) was accidental. Jack will be out for six weeks.

"It is a blow for him and for us, from now on we want to get him to recover and come back as quickly as possible and prepare for next season.

"You can only be very down, especially in the first days.

"He is in a boot and has gone away for a few days to get away from things and think about something else."

Arsenal remain positive Wilshere will be able to return to play some part in the final few matches - unlike forward Theo Walcott, whose own World Cup dream was shattered by a serious knee injury in January.

Although it will be of little comfort, Arsenal will be compensated financially for the injury and the Barclays Premier League club will not have to pay for the midfielder's wages - reported at around some £100,000-per-week - while he is sidelined, with the money coming from the FA's insurers.

Wenger maintains there was no pre-agreement over how long Wilshere could be played, or how the injury was managed by England.

"At some stage it is the player who gives you the indication, you trust always the player," the Arsenal manager said.

"Sometimes you give him a few minutes to tell you how he feels and if he has pain, we cannot make an instant decision with an X-ray, so it is the player who tells you if he can go on or not."

Wilshere has endured a string of fitness issues since first suffering an ankle problem in the build up to the 2011/2012 campaign, and spent some 17 months on the sidelines.

Wenger, though, is confident the 22-year-old has the strength of character to recover once more.

"It's certainly very difficult when you are at his age you want to play, get up in the morning jump out of bed and go on the football pitch and play. When you are not capable to do that without any restriction it's difficult mentally," he said.

"Certainly it has a weight on his mind and I hope that's his last accident for a long, long time.

" We are all sorry for what happened to him and (wish him) to get well soon."

Wenger moved to allay any fears Wilshere would not feature again for Arsenal this season.

"Yes (I expect him to). There are 11 weeks to go, he will be out for six before he can absorb normal training," said Wenger.

"The maximum after six weeks I think before being competitive in a game, because he will work on his fitness during his injury, is two weeks, so it is eight weeks (to be back playing again)."

Wenger sees no reason why Wilshere should not go on to play for England at the World Cup finals, unlike Arsenal forward Theo Walcott, who suffered a serious knee injury in January.

"A fracture is a fracture, it is not muscular or a ligament. Once it is healed, you do not have to have any restriction in your preparation," he said.

The Arsenal manager also maintained he would not be asking England to go easy on Wilshere, should he make the final cut for Brazil.

"Any player who has an opportunity to go to the World Cup, you do not want to talk him out of that, it is a lost job," said Wenger.

"You want to encourage him to go to the World Cup and show (his talents) because you know the meaning it has to go to a World Cup for a player is immense, and I will do absolutely everything that he can get there."

Despite Arsenal being set for a hefty compensation fee during Wilshere's absence, Wenger stressed: "Our concern yesterday was not the financial side of it, it was more the shock that we lose a very competitive player for the final part of the season, the finances are not my main worry at the moment."

Wenger, though, feels something could be done about the international calender at what is a hectic part of the campaign.

"It is disruptive, nobody would deny that," he said. "Everton is facing the same problem, Bayern Munich is facing the same problem so we just want to deal as well as we can with that."

The Arsenal manager believes more issues will crop up in the run-in towards Euro 2016, qualifying for which has been expanded and will include a 'week of football'.

He said: "In the next European Championship you will have 24 teams. You have 53 teams affiliated to UEFA. That means that one country out of two will qualify, so the qualifiers will basically have no meaning for the big countries.

"The qualification round becomes a little bit less meaningful, not to say useless because all the big countries will be there with three not one to qualify (from the group via play-offs).

"We will (still) release the players. We respect the international rules when it is for qualifiers. The players' aspiration is to do well for their country and I personally respect that hugely.

"If you ask me if there is sometimes a conflict of interest between club and country, you know that (answer). That is an old story, many intelligent people have looked at it and nobody has found a solution that satisfies all ways of both parties."

Arsenal host Everton on Saturday lunchtime looking to secure a place at Wembley and stay on course for a first trophy since 2005.

"It is one of the priorities, the first priority is always to do well in the Premier League," said Wenger, whose side dropped to third following the 1-0 defeat at Stoke.

"The FA Cup is our next game, we had a disappointing result at Stoke [and] for us it is very important to come back with a strong response.

"The FA Cup is our absolute priority just because it is our next game."

France defender Laurent Koscielny has a hamstring problem, but otherwise Wenger reported no more fresh injury worries following the midweek internationals.

Press Association

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