World Cup 2014: Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere faces race to recover from fractured foot
The Arsenal midfielder was injured in a challenge with Denmark defender Daniel Agger
Jack Wilshere's place at the World Cup finals is in serious doubt after he sustained a hairline fracture to his left foot, with Roy Hodgson having said that he will not take players to the tournament if they are less than 100 per cent fit.
The England manager laid out his position on Wednesday night, before a diagnosis revealed Wilshere had cracked a navicular bone in his foot in his challenge with Daniel Agger in the friendly against Denmark.
Arsenal said the player would miss six weeks before he could regain match fitness with, in the best-case scenario, a likely maximum of five games available to him before the squad is announced on 13 May. In the past, England managers have been reluctant to give up on injured players who have been unable to prove their fitness ahead of squad deadlines.
Sven Goran-Eriksson took David Beckham to the 2002 World Cup despite him having had too little time to return from a broken metatarsal injury. It was the same situation with Wayne Rooney in 2006, when he made a late playing entry to the World Cup finals in Germany.
Neither of those tournaments ended happily for the players involved. Even Hodgson opted to take Scott Parker to Euro 2012 despite the player's injury problems at the time, although Parker did play all four games at that tournament.
Asked whether he would do the same again, Hodgson said: "I would like to think that the answer to the question is obvious and one hopes one wouldn't do that.
"With the amount of people knocking quite heavily on the door it would be a bit sad to leave someone who is 100 per cent fit out [of the squad] and in fantastic form, for someone else who wasn't fit and might just recover during the tournament.
"One thing I can tell you is that I don't think any player would expect that, or expect me to show loyalty at a time when they are not 100 per cent fit. [Neither would they expect] to go there and not do a good job over someone who is 100 per cent fit and can do a good job."
Speaking on Wednesday night, before he knew the extent of the damage to his foot, Wilshere said that he could not be sure of his place in the squad for Brazil and, poignantly, that club form in the weeks up to 13 May would be "crucial".
He said: "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 definitely don't feel that I'm a definite on there [in the squad to Brazil]. 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."
Wilshere said at that point an early scan had showed up nothing more than bruising and that he would be able to play at the weekend. "Yeah, it was painful, but I got through to half-time," he said. "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. But it's fine now."
On the tackle itself the midfielder, who has won 14 caps for his country, said: "When I was going for it 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," he added. "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."
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