Gibbs injury adds to Wenger's worries

Arsenal's problems mount as left-back limps out of England Under-21s match

Arsene Wenger's injury crisis took another turn for the worse last night when his current first-choice left-back Kieran Gibbs limped out of the England Under-21s game against Lithuania. With Gaël Clichy already out for another month, it leaves Wenger casting around for a third-string replacement in his defence.

Gibbs, 20, came off in the 21st minute of Stuart Pearce's side's European Championship qualifier in Vilnius, which ended in a goalless draw, in what has become a disastrous international break for Arsenal. Robin van Persie has ruptured ankle ligaments and Abou Diaby has pulled out of the France squad with a calf strain to compound the problems the squad already had.

Armand Traoré, recently returned from injury himself, is the most obvious replacement for Gibbs at left-back to play against Sunderland on Saturday but there are other significant absentees. Both Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson are out, with the latter expected to come back to training, Clichy has a back problem and will miss another month. Theo Walcott is only just returning to training.

Wenger will not see his players until tomorrow morning at the earliest and he still has the likes of Andrei Arshavin and William Gallas in action in World Cup play-off second-leg games tonight. The club were still trying to get an exact report on Gibbs' condition from the under-21s medical team last night.

The fallout from the decision by Van Persie to seek alternative treatment with Serbian doctor Marijana Kovacevic, who uses fluids from placentas to treat injuries, continued yesterday when the Serbian Football Association sought to distance themselves from her. The spokesman for the Serbia national team, who play South Korea in a friendly at Craven Cottage tonight, said that she had not been endorsed by his governing body.

It is understood that the Serbia national team's medical department are extremely dubious about Dr Kovacevic, but allow the players to visit her nonetheless at their own discretion. Aleksandar Boskovic, the spokesman for the Serbian FA, said: "We don't know this woman, we have never met her and she is not involved in any official capacity with our national team."

However, sources have claimed that up to a dozen players in the Premier League have visited Dr Kovacevic including some from Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. United's Serbian winger Zoran Tosic, signed for £7m from Partizan Belgrade in January, is understood to be one of Dr Kovacevic's clients.

Dr Kovacevic's methods do not sound entirely dissimilar from those of Eileen Drewery, the faith healer employed by Glenn Hoddle when he was manager of England. A source close to the Serbia national team said that Dr Kovacevic had cultivated an air of mystique among the players. "She tends to use a darkened room and a lot of candles," said the source.

Having built up a reputation among the Serbian players and welcomed the publicity that her healing powers have brought, Dr Kovacevic was not returning calls yesterday. In the meantime the Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt criticised Van Persie's treatment by the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini and Italy in general.

Kuyt said: "I was very disappointed [by Italy]. We played a friendly against a big country and if you see the way they kicked us it's very sad for the Dutch team and also very sad for Robin because he was in great form. I think it was a bad tackle. Sometimes you think about this when you play a friendly for your country: there should be more respect for each other, and hopefully it won't happen in future."

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's pic YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star