Arsene Wenger has revealed that Jack Wilshere is still approximately six weeks away from a return to fitness.
Speaking on Friday [as reported by The Guardian], the Arsenal coach has admitted that he is not expecting his midfield star to return until mid-March, in news that will come as a blow to the Gunners’ title hopes and potentially to England’s European Championship campaign next summer.
The 24-year-old is still making his comeback from a fractured fibula that has completely derailed his season to date, and it looks like the north London heavyweights will still be without one of their star men for some time yet.
“Jack is starting to run,” Wenger admitted. “Once you move out, from the first day, you count six weeks to be competitive and build up stamina and intensity. You need six weeks to be ready fitness-wise.”
Wilshere is yet to feature so far this term, having picked up an injury just before the season’s curtain jerker—the Community Shield.
Without him, Arsenal are enjoying an encouraging campaign, and find themselves in the midst of a title challenge.
After 23 matches, the Gunners are in third, having won 13 matches to date, losing only five. Despite last weekend’s loss to Chelsea, they are only three points behind leaders Leicester City, and level on points with Manchester City.
Without Wilshere, however, the midfield remains somewhat lightweight, with Mathieu Flamini, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta all the wrong side of 30.
Attacker reckons Man City are the world’s ‘fifth biggest club’
Done Deal: South American hitman completes ‘dream’ move to Chelsea
Man United had deal in place to sign Robert Lewandowski but opted for RVP instead
Francis Coquelin is currently on the process of making an injury comeback, while new signing Mohamed Elneny is unproven in the Premier League.
Wilshere’s sluggish return to fitness may also be of concern to England, with Roy Hodgson’s hopes of calling on the midfielder next summer dented by his extended absence.