The plans of both Arsenal and England have been further disrupted by the news that Jack Wilshere will be out for "four to five months" after ankle surgery yesterday. The England midfielder needed an operation to repair a stress fracture to his right ankle, and he is unlikely to play again until February 2012 at the earliest.
The club confirmed on their official website last night that the surgery, according to "the initial indications", had been "successful". Wilshere's rehabilitation will likely last into the early spring, ruling him out of the remainder of the Champions League group stage, as well as crucial Premier League visits to Chelsea (29 October), Manchester City (17 December) and, should Arsenal reach it, the semi-final of the Carling Cup.
Arsène Wenger will be keen that he should return in February: which includes the provisional dates for the fifth round of the FA Cup, the Carling Cup final, the Champions League last 16 as well as a north London derby against Tottenham at The Emirates.
Fabio Capello will be just as eager for a swift return, as – providing they qualify – he prepares his squad for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine next summer. Wilshere became a first-choice England player last season, starting the friendlies against Denmark and Ghana as well as the European Championship qualifiers against Wales and Switzerland.
It was in the Switzerland game, on 4 June, that Wilshere first sustained his current ankle injury, from a kick. "He then went on holiday," Wenger explained recently. "When you are 19, when you felt a kick somewhere on an ankle you go on holiday and assume when you come back it's alright."
Wilshere returned for pre-season with an ankle that was still "inflamed", according to Wenger. He played in the Emirates Cup games against Boca Juniors and New York Red Bulls on 30 and 31 July respectively, but came off after just seven minutes of the latter, feeling his right ankle. He had been wearing a protective boot for the start of this season, but after his ankle failed to respond, the club decided that he needed surgery.
The 19-year-old midfielder, who made 49 club appearances last season and won Arsenal Player of the Season, is confident about his recovery, despite currently being in pain. "My ankle is a little bit sore," he said, "but I'm already looking forward to working hard to get fit and playing again."
The Gunners have suffered a number of long-term injuries in recent seasons:
Tomas Rosicky Out from January 2008 to September 2009 with a hamstring injury
Eduardo Broken leg kept him out for a year in 2008
Robin van Persie Out from November 2009 to April 2010 with an ankle injury
Thomas Vermaelen Out from September 2010 to May 2011 with an Achilles injury
Aaron Ramsey Out from February 2010 to November 2010 with a broken leg
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