Arsenal suffered a further blow yesterday when the club revealed that the midfielder Jack Wilshere will require surgery on his right ankle on Monday and will be unavailable for "a period of months" rather than the weeks previously expected. The 19-year-old England midfielder aggravated the injury during Arsenal's pre-season campaign though it is believed the initial blow was picked up playing against Switzerland in June. Wilshere has been wearing a protective boot designed to allow the stress fracture of the ankle time to heal and avoid surgery.
The club website said of Wilshere: "Scans this week have revealed that the fracture has not responded positively during this period. "Throughout Jack's injury, the club has been guided by the continuous advice of several world-renowned specialists. The information attained this week has led to the conclusion that surgery is now required to gain an optimal response. Wilshere is now expected to be out for a period of months. Following surgery these time-scales will become more specific.
The injury adds to Arsène Wenger's growing list of unavailable first-team players, including the defender Thomas Vermaelen who has recently had surgery on a tendon in his ankle. A club spokesman said: "We have given Jack time to heal naturally which is important wherever possible with a young player. The latest scans show surgery is needed. Everyone at the club wishes Jack a speedy recovery."