Exclusive: Jack Wilshere out for three months
Published 23:02 03/09/11 By Steve Stammers
Arsenal fear they could be without Jack Wilshere for at least three months.
The 19-year-old midfield star has failed to start a competitive game this season because of a persistent problem with his right ankle.
He is currently wearing a surgical boot – and it will stay on for another month as the club attempt to manage the injury conservatively.
It comes as a massive blow to under-fire Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and also Fabio Capello, who will be without him for the remaining Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Arsenal’s medical team are hoping that when he starts a light training programme in mid-October, the rest will have sorted the problem.
But if Wilshere breaks down again, then the insertion of a screw into the joint may be needed – and that could keep him out until December.
Arsenal have consulted specialists worldwide through their network of contacts about how to manage the injury which was aggravated while playing for England against Switzerland in June.
During the 2-2 draw at Wembley, Wilshere was on the receiving end of a heavy tackle and did not feel comfortable after a week or two of pre-season training.
He tried to make the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Udinese 11 days ago, but was not ready.
Arsenal are now determined that when he does return, he will be fit and pain-free.
Wilshere is at the fledgling stage of what promises to be a glittering career and boss Wenger wants to avoid giving the young star a series of pain-killing injections or to mismanage what could be a difficult problem.
That course of treatment will merely mask the effects of the injury. Wenger and the medical team want a cure.
The club feel that the long-term well-being of Wilshere is paramount and Wenger acted on the last day of the transfer window to ensure he has substantial cover in central midfield.
He signed Mikel Arteta (below) from Everton for £10million and also secured a loan deal for Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea for the season.
Meanwhile, full-back Kieran Gibbs has given Arsenal a boost by returning to full training following his recent problems.