By Chris Harris
Kieran Gibbs can still play his part at the European Championship, according to Arsène Wenger.
The England international started the campaign as Arsenal's first-choice left back but has been sidelined by injury since the 2-1 win over Sunderland on October 16.
Gibbs has been ruled out for another month after undergoing surgery on his groin but a sympathetic Wenger is confident he can get his career back on track.
"He is incredibly unlucky but he still can play in the Euros, because they are in June and we are in December," said the manager.
"Normally this injury would keep him out for four weeks, so there is still a good opportunity. But we cannot waste any time.
"It is very difficult for him. I feel sometimes for players between 19 and 20, if they get injured, then their body adjusts a little to the requested physical level then they can have a long period without injury - I have seen it many times.
"Some get through it, but most of them suffer injuries between the ages of 19 and 20."
Gibbs has had to overcome more than his fair share of injury setbacks since breaking into the Arsenal team as a teenager and Wenger believes the left back will be mentally stronger for it.
"It builds them up as well, mentally," he said. "When you start, you think life is easy, then this kind of injury is very difficult to cope with. The guy who doesn't play feels useless, especially when he he is injured.
"He cannot even fight for his place so it is a difficult period. But it makes him tough."
Wenger has been linked with a move for another left back when the transfer window opens. But he insists it is just a short-term consideration.
"Long term, I am sticking to Santos and Gibbs," said Wenger. "I love both of them because they have a quality I like, which is to attack."Copyright 2013 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 23 Dec 2011