Wednesday 20 November 2019

Wilshere lay-off better than we feared -- Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke

ARSENE WENGER yesterday mapped out Jack Wilshere's long road to recovery, but admitted that even Wilshere's likely 22-week absence is shorter than the club had first feared.

Arsenal, who host Olympiakos this evening, will probably be without their Player of the Season until March.

Wilshere had surgery on Monday, which inserted a screw to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle, and Wenger said that the prognosis might have been much worse.

"When people go into surgery you never know what they find," he said. " They said it was better than what they expected it to be."

"He will be 12 weeks in a boot and after that it is rehab. If all goes well, you would think he will be fit again to play in half the time you are in the boot -- six weeks. Count 10 to be closer to the truth, so it's 22 weeks to be capable to play football again."

Wilshere first felt the ankle injury in England's draw with Switzerland on June 4. He played in pre-season for Arsenal, hoping that the injury had improved, and Wenger yesterday defended the club's response.

"We made a scan before we left (for the pre-season Asia tour) and it was all right. This crack in the bone became worse and worse."

With Arsenal badly hit by injuries, Wenger believes his squad is struggling to balance the twin demands of domestic and European competition.

"We paid a heavy price in the Premiership for our performances in the Champions League," he said. "We played Liverpool after having played Udinese and we played Man United after having played at Udinese.

"We had to give everything, we lost three or four players in that game and we had to go to Man United, it was a bit too much. And after we went to Dortmund, we went to Blackburn."

Arsenal will be without Gervinho, Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott this evening, all of whom have short-term injuries which will not necessarily keep them out of Sunday's north London derby.

Andrey Arshavin is likely to start, and when asked whether he was as keen for the Russian to sign a new deal as he was for Robin van Persie, Wenger said: "Robin is different, Andrey (30) is older, Robin (28) is younger. Robin finishes at the age of 33, Andrey finishes at age of 33, I think."(© Independent News Service)

Arsenal v Olympiakos,

Live, Setanta Irl/Sky Sports 2, 7.45

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