Football: Arsenal's Danny Welbeck out for nine months

Welbeck (above) had previously spent 10 months on the sidelines after injuring his left knee.
Welbeck (above) had previously spent 10 months on the sidelines after injuring his left knee.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will be out for around nine months after undergoing knee surgery, the club announced on Wednesday, ending his hopes of playing for England at Euro 2016.

The 25-year-old forward damaged cartilage in his right knee during a challenge with Bacary Sagna in Arsenal's 2-2 draw at Manchester City on Sunday.

He had previously spent 10 months on the sidelines after injuring his left knee, making his return to action in February.

"Danny Welbeck has had surgery to his right knee," Arsenal said in a statement on their website.

"Specialists determined surgery was required after scans and tests revealed significant cartilage damage.

"Danny will miss the Euro 2016 Championship in the summer and his full recovery is expected to take approximately nine months.

"Everyone at Arsenal will be working hard with Danny throughout his recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

Following the announcement, Welbeck posted a picture of himself celebrating a recent goal on Twitter, accompanied by the caption: "I will be back stronger!"

An absence of nine months would see him return sometime in February 2017.

Welbeck had made an impressive return to action following his previous knee injury, scoring five goals in 15 appearances.

His injury is a major blow to England manager Roy Hodgson, who had been expected to name the former Manchester United player in his squad for Euro 2016.

Welbeck can play as a central striker or a wide forward - versatility that Hodgson appreciates - and started England's qualifying campaign by scoring twice in a pivotal 2-0 win away to Switzerland.

British press reports suggest that his place in Hodgson's squad, which will be announced on Monday, will be taken by either Arsenal forward Theo Walcott or in-form Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend.

Walcott wrote on Twitter: "So gutted for you on your injury - You will come back stronger and all of us are thinking of you."

Welbeck's Arsenal and England colleague Jack Wilshere, who recently returned from a long lay-off with a fractured shin, tweeted: "Devastated for my friend @DannyWelbeck but you've proved before you can come back a better player! Stay strong mate."