Theo Walcott is out of England's two crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland next month, denying manager Roy Hodgson a player who started the previous two games and has become a key member of the squad.
Walcott will have a stomach operation on Wednesday to correct an abdominal problem that was causing associated problems in his groin and glutes. The injury had been a concern for some time and the player and Arsenal felt they had no option but to go ahead with what was described as "a minor procedure on his abdomen" that will rule him out for three weeks.
Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger said: "Theo has developed some damage to his posterior abdominal wall. It's not a hernia, but it's a little structural problem in his abdomen."
Wenger, whose side play West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup third round on Wednesday night, said he believed Nicklas Bendtner could compete for a place again at Arsenal, having been out on loan and not played for the team since August 2011. "He had nearly gone somewhere else and in the end he stayed because it didn't work out and we needed him here. Now he can convince everybody.
"We are open-minded, we believe in his qualities. It's just down to attitude and fighting spirit. When he has that, Nicklas can be an unstoppable striker."