Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere expected to start on bench against Wigan before undergoing ankle surgery

The midfielder will miss England's summer freindlies

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The Independent Football

England midfielder Jack Wilshere will have a minor operation on his ankle at the end of the season, ruling him out of the friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

The 21-year-old has been a substitute for the Gunners last three Barclays Premier League games, and is likely to be on the bench again for tonight's crucial clash against FA Cup winners Wigan at the Emirates Stadium.

Wilshere - seen as an integral part of Roy Hodgson's plans for the World Cup - missed all the 2011/12 campaign through injury and was sidelined for several weeks after the defeat at Tottenham in March.

Wenger confirmed the procedure, which will remove a pin inserted during a previous surgery, means Wilshere would then be able to return for the Gunners' pre-season campaign, which includes a tour of Asia.

"He will have small mild surgery after the season. At the moment Jack plays with painkillers and I use him only when it is really needed," said Wenger, whose side could move back up into fourth place if they win tonight.

"It is a very small, small, small one (operation), taking out a pin. It is a two to three weeks job. It will not be a problem."

It is understood the Football Association will be aware of fitness concerns surrounding any player likely to be included in Hodgson's squad for the games on May 29 and June 2, for which the squad will be announced on Thursday.

Wilshere, who impressed in the 2-1 win over Brazil at Wembley in February, will clearly be disappointed not to be involved in the return trip to South America.

Wenger added: "Of course (he will be disappointed), but he will go (to Brazil) next year."

The Arsenal manager admits he is unsure how Wigan's battling FA Cup win over Manchester City on Saturday will impact on their performance tonight in a match Roberto Martinez's men must win to keep alive realistic hopes of staying up.

Wenger, though, wants his team fully focused on delivering the required result themselves.

"We are on a great run, a remarkable run. We have a good spirit, a good understanding within the squad, so let's just continue to play. The best thing to do is focus on our game," said Wenger, whose side have won six of their last eight league games since losing at White Hart Lane.

"You just want the players to have faith in the game you want to play, in the game we love, and focus on that.

"We have to try to be at our best (tonight). Players have experience, a good solid attitude, good strong spirit, so they have good ingredients to do it."

Wigan seem to always find their league form when it matters over the closing stages of the season, with seven from the last nine in 2011/12 - including a memorable 2-1 triumph at the Emirates Stadium.

"Wigan is a bit repeated every year. They recover always in the period where everybody says they are finished," Wenger added.

"Of course they get out in recent years every time - just - but when you play with that fire every year it can be dangerous.

"What Wigan have done as well is always discover players, you have to give them credit for that, with a small budget they find very good players and so that is sad of course if they go."

PA

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