Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has confirmed he will "definitely not" be fit in time to face bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates on 27 September.
Walcott, 25, has been out injured since January after suffering the ligament injury against Tottenham in the FA Cup third round victory, and has denied reports that he will return against the same opponents later this month in the north London derby.
"You've got to look at these injuries as a bit of a blessing at times," he told the Daily Mirror.
"I've never had the opportunity to work on the strength in my legs so hopefully I should be quicker and stronger.
"This injury was always going to take nine months. I haven't put a specific date or looked at a game yet. I think there was rumours of me coming back for the Spurs game, which is definitely not going to happen."
Walcott has suffered numerous injuries in his career and has only started more than 30 Premier League matches once in his eight seasons in north London.
He added on the club's official website: "But I'm just pleased it's hopefully now only a matter of weeks before I'll be back playing. I'm just looking forward to getting out there and playing again."
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