Murky future for crocked Wilshere

LONDON • Arsene Wenger fears that injuries could prevent Jack Wilshere from reaching his full potential, as he reacted to the latest setback to afflict the English midfielder.

Wilshere, who is on loan at Bournemouth from Arsenal, suffered a hairline fracture to his left fibula in the club's 4-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, and he will sit out the remainder of the season.

Wenger said the 25-year-old would not need surgery and hoped that he would be back to fitness for the beginning of pre-season training in July.

But Wilshere's rehabilitation programmes from his previous injuries have rarely run smoothly, and the Arsenal manager did not disguise his unhappiness at what is another serious problem.

Wilshere's Arsenal contract expires next summer and Wenger said his fitness situation would have no bearing on whether the club offered him fresh terms.

As yet there have been no negotiations over a new deal.

"I'm sad about this injury because Jack is a great football player with a great football brain," Wenger said. "His career has been stopped by many injuries.

"Today, at the top level, the most important thing is the consistency of the presence. When a player has been out for a while, the game is of such an intensity that it always takes you a while to get your confidence back.

"You're always sad when a guy of Jack's quality is stopped by problems."

Wenger was asked if he doubted that Wilshere would fulfil his potential.

"The doubt is that you need to go on the football pitch and not to worry to be injured," the manager said. "I believe, overall, he had a positive season on that front and that this is purely accidental."

"It could have happened even if he had no problem ever before."

On Wilshere's contract, Wenger said: "This injury is nothing to do with the extension of Jack's contract. Will he sign? I don't know. We haven't entered into any negotiations yet."

Wenger must decide whether to persist with the three-man defence that he used in Monday's win at Middlesbrough when he picks his team for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley.

He reported that he will be without centre-half Shkodran Mustafi, who is out for a couple of weeks with a thigh injury, while David Ospina (back), Lucas Perez (thigh) and young midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide (ankle) are also unavailable.

Danny Welbeck is also a doubt with a toe problem."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'Murky future for crocked Wilshere'. Print Edition | Subscribe