Wilshere to miss friendlies against Ireland and Brazil as Wigan and Arsenal prepare for crunch game
Midfielder to undergo a minor operation on his right ankle
Arsene Wenger: fears for Wigan’s survival after a few close calls.
The Arsenal midfielder had a pin inserted in the joint during 2011 to help cure a stress fracture he had sustained during that summer and which kept him out of action for 15 months. Wilshere returned to Arsenal’s first team last October, in the 1-0 home victory over Queens Park Rangers, but has remained dogged by the injury and will undergo a second procedure following his side’s final game of the season, against Newcastle on Sunday.
Wenger expects the 21-year-old to be fit for Arsenal’s pre-season tour of south-east Asia and Japan, which begins with a match against an Indonesia XI in Jakarta on July 14th, but said there is no chance of him playing in England’s fixtures with Ireland at Wembley on May 29th and Brazil at the Maracana four days later.
“He will have small surgery after the season,” said Wenger, who recently admitted to rushing Wilshere back from injury after he hurt his other ankle in the defeat by Tottenham on March 3rd. “At the moment he plays with painkillers and I use him only when it’s really needed.”
Arsenal face Wigan at the Emirates tonight in a match of huge importance for both clubs. They must win if they are to overtake Tottenham in fourth place ahead of the weekend’s final Premier League fixtures, with anything less putting their 100 per cent record of qualifying for the Champions League under Wenger in jeopardy.
Wigan will be all but relegated should they fail to secure three points, creating history by becoming the first team to win the FA Cup and lose their top-flight status in the same season. “Both teams are in the same situation so that means they will play absolutely 100 per cent,” Wenger said.
Wenger, who has a full squad to chose from, is concerned that Arsenal have not played since their victory at QPR on May 4th but feels their form – they are unbeaten in their past nine matches – should make up for any rustiness.
He also expressed reservations about Wigan’s ability to avoid relegation, describing it as a concern that, yet again, Roberto Martinez’s men find themselves in an end-of-season fight for their elite status.
“Wigan are a bit repeated every year,” he said. “They get out every time, just, but when you play with fire all the time it can be dangerous.”
It’s not a view shared by the ever-confident Martinez, who believes his team can win their final two games.