Jack Wilshere injury: Arsenal midfielder 'out for three months' confirms manager Arsene Wenger

England international has had surgery on his left fibula

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It was somehow apt that the start of Arsenal’s latest attempt to fulfil their Champions League potential was overshadowed by manager and captain rallying around a player amid fears of wasting his talent.

Zagreb may have looked resplendent in late-evening sunshine as the Gunners touched down here in the Croatian capital last night, but they emerged under a cloud, with Jack Wilshere facing another setback in an already frustratingly staccato career.

The 23-year-old will be sidelined for three months after suffering a hairline crack during pre-season in his left fibula which requires an operation to insert a small metal plate. It is the seventh surgical procedure Wilshere has undergone, the 16th injury he has suffered to his body from the knees down and it will mean the total time spent on the sidelines convalescing is racing towards three years.

Captain Mikel Arteta, no stranger to long-term injury, believes every player at the club has an obligation to ensure Wilshere stays positive. “For him, I am sure again it is very a disappointing time,” he said. “But he needs to use it to prove he can get back.

“He has an enormous talent and support from every department of the club, and from the players because we feel sorry for him. And we know we cannot waste his talent because he has an amazing career ahead of him.

“We are responsible for putting that into his head every day and do not allow him to fall down, because at some stage that is the danger, that he does not believe in himself or his body, and he needs to trust himself.”

Arsène Wenger was more unequivocal in his positivity, despite originally insisting the injury would only keep Wilshere out for a few days.

“You know when you are injured and you come back, you always go through a vulnerable period, where you need to strengthen your body again,” he said. “I think he is young enough to get over that and I hope his body will stabilise, I am confident he will and that he can make a career his talent deserves.”

Arsenal begin their 18th consecutive group stage campaign looking ultimately to break the cycle of five consecutive defeats in the first knockout round. Dynamo have won the last 10 Croatian league titles and not lost for 41 matches, having gone through last season’s domestic campaign unbeaten.

Yet they had to negotiate three Champions League qualifying rounds to reach this point and they have not won a game in the competition proper in 15 matches dating back to 1999. Aaron Ramsey and Hector Bellerin have been rested, with Calum Chambers and Mathieu Flamini drafted into the squad.

Wenger hinted that he would make “two or three” changes on the eve of a demanding programme that includes Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.


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