By Richard Clarke
Theo Walcott is likely to be out for “four to six weeks”, according to Arsène Wenger.
Speaking to TV Online on Thursday, the Arsenal manager confirmed the extent of the ankle injury picked up by the 21-year-old playing for England on Tuesday night.
It was announced earlier this week that Wenger will be without Robin van Persie for a similar length of time but, on the upside, Samir Nasri has recovered quicker than expected after knee surgery and could even be involved this weekend against Bolton. He’ll definitely be back for SC Braga on Wednesday.
In addition, Johan Djourou and Denilson are available after injury while Sebastien Squillaci could be involved for the first time after his move from Sevilla. All three came through a Reserve team run-out in midweek.
Wenger watched that 4-3 win over Blackburn’s second-string at Barnet on Tuesday night. However that same evening, Walcott was injured in the build-up to England’s first goal in Switzerland.
“The tackle looked quite bad,” said the Arsenal manager. “When you see how it turned his ankle I thought it would be three or four days or it would be four to six weeks. Unfortunately it will be four to six weeks. We had some good news about the scan because at some stage we were scared it could be worse. But overall it is a question of patience and rehabilitation.”
The same is true for Van Persie, who suffered his ankle injury at Blackburn a fortnight ago.
“That is bad news,” said Wenger. “At the start we were optimistic. Maybe a bit too much, thinking it would be one or two weeks. But the damage was bigger than expected and he will be four to six weeks.”
However the bad news ends there, with more positive suggestions about Nasri.
“He could even be involved against Bolton,” said Wenger. “He has had a very good preparation and joins in [training] tomorrow. If needed I will integrate him in the squad for Bolton but for sure he will be back for our first Champions League game against Braga.”
The manager added that Squillaci, Djourou and Denilson are “all physically available to play and to start. It is just a question of selection”.
Meanwhile Aaron Ramsey is on course for his November return. “Aaron is running,” said Wenger. “He is in the normal process but he is a little bit more long-term.”
Meanwhile Nicklas Bendtner (groin) is still “three to four weeks away”.
TV Online subscribers can see the full video interview with Arsène Wenger on Friday morning. In it he talks about:
- Owen Coyle's changes at Bolton
- Assessing their side one by one
- Jack Wilshere’s development under Coyle
- More on the injury news
- England in the international break
- More problems for France