By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger has described Jack Wilshere as “gutted” after suffering a setback in his recovery from injury.
The Arsenal midfielder had been closing in on a comeback after undergoing surgery at the start of the season.
However Wilshere felt some pain in his ankle this week and was sent to a specialist on Friday. There is no time-scale put on his return but, at his pre-match press conference, the manager cautioned against pessimism.
“It is a massive disappointment and I am really disappointed for him as well because he is a football animal. I am so sad that at that age you have to be out for such a long time without any obvious reason,” said the manager.
“If you had told me that Jack would not have played one game by February I would have said that’s impossible.
“We miss that little burst from Jack. Let’s hope it goes well and we have good news.
"It's impossible [for him] to play at the end of February. Even if we have some good news, I would say that's impossible. From day one, when you are completely fit to practice again, to be match fit you count at least six weeks. [He is] gutted.”
However Wenger said there was no reason to suggest Wilshere would not play for Arsenal this season and England at the European Championships.
"Who would want to [write his season off]?” he said. “I don't want to and he doesn't want to. If we have good news and he can move on, why should we do it [write him off]?
"Yes, I feel for him and of course he wants to be in the big tournaments. I believe as well that he wants to play for Arsenal too. He grew up here remember."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 27 Jan 2012