By Richard Clarke
Jack Wilshere has a fitness test on Friday that will determine his involvement in the North London derby at the weekend.
The Arsenal midfielder missed England’s 2-1 defeat to France on Wednesday night because of a back problem and has not yet returned to full training. Medical staff at Arsenal will check Wilshere, along with Andrey Arshavin and Tomas Rosicky, in the next 24 hours. The latter pair are expected to be fit after international duty but, when Arsène Wenger spoke to TV Online on Thursday lunchtime, they had not yet returned to the Training Ground.
Robin van Persie’s recovery from an ankle problem was helped by 45 minutes for Holland and the manager is predicting no further bad news as the players come back from their countries.
However Manuel Almunia (elbow), Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) and Abou Diaby (ankle) are still out. The Spanish keeper is closest to a return. He is expected to be fully fit next week.
“We have players coming back from the internationals,” said Wenger. “Some played shorter and some more longer. We have to assess all that tomorrow morning.
“Jack has a test. He has a little strain of a little muscle in the back and is not in full training at the moment. We will know more on Friday about whether he is available for Saturday.
“We have to assess Arshavin, who has still to come back. Rosicky is coming in later too. He had a tight hamstring but should be OK.
“Van Persie had 45 minutes, which was agreed. He needed that. We had someone at the game and he looked quite sharp.”
Wenger was asked which of the three remaining injured players would be back first.
“Almunia,” he answered. “He is back in full training. He needs a few more days because he has been out for a long time. But he should be available for next week.”
TV Online subscribers can see the full interview later. In it, Wenger talks about:
- Tottenham’s season so far
- the affect of the Champions League
- the chance to go top on Saturday
- the return of William Gallas
- Rafael van der Vaart
- what Chelsea’s defeat on Sunday says about the title race