By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has played down reports that Robin van Persie could return to action in early April.

The Dutch forward has been out since November after suffering ankle ligament damage during an international friendly against Italy.

Wenger predicted last week that Van Persie may be back in an Arsenal shirt by the end of April but only if his recovery goes to plan. However, in the interim the Dutch FA have tipped the 26-year-old for an earlier comeback.

At his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Wenger poured cold water on those optimistic claims.

“No, I would love to agree but I believe they [the Dutch FA] are a bit optimistic in that,” said the manager.

“I haven’t seen Robin because he is in Holland at the moment but [early April] looks to be a bit early.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Feb 2010