Arsène Wenger sad to see ‘a guy of Jack Wilshere’s quality stopped by injury’

David Hytner
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Jack Wilshere suffered a hairline fracture to his left fibula during Bournemouth’s 4-0 defeat to Spurs. </span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images</span>
Jack Wilshere suffered a hairline fracture to his left fibula during Bournemouth’s 4-0 defeat to Spurs. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsène Wenger fears injuries could prevent Jack Wilshere from reaching his full potential. The midfielder, who is on loan at Bournemouth, suffered a hairline fracture to his left fibula in the 4-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday and he will miss the remainder of the season.

Wenger said the 25-year-old does not need surgery and hoped he would be back for the beginning of Arsenal’s pre-season training in July but Wilshere’s rehabilitation programmes have rarely run smoothly and Wenger did not disguise his unhappiness at what is another serious problem.

Wilshere’s contract expires in summer 2018 and Wenger said the player’s fitness situation would have no bearing on whether the club offered him fresh terms. As yet there have been no negotiations over a new deal.

“I’m sad about this injury because Jack is a great player with a great football brain,” Wenger said. “His career has been stopped by many injuries. At the top level the most important thing is consistency. When a player has been out for a while, the game is of such an intensity that it always takes you a while to get your confidence back.

“You have to be consistently present. When you look at all the players who are at the top level in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo, these guys play 50 or 60 games a year. They have the luck of not being stopped by injuries. You’re always sad when a guy of Jack’s quality is stopped by problems.”

Wenger was asked if he doubted Wilshere would fulfil his potential. “The doubt is that you need to go on the pitch and not to worry to be injured,” Wenger said. “I believe, overall, he had a positive season on that front and this is purely accidental. It was a tackle, I think with Harry Kane. It was accidental and it could have happened even if he had no problem ever before.”

On Wilshere’s contract, Wenger said: “That’s something different. This injury is nothing to do with the extension of Jack’s contract. Will he sign? I don’t know. We haven’t entered into any negotiations yet. With all these cases, when there’s only one year to go, it’s done during the summer break.

“Until the end of the season, Jack is a Bournemouth player but we have a good understanding with their medical staff. I had a meeting with our medical staff to see how we can liaise and whether we have to bring him back.

“It’s a fracture so there’s not a lot you can do. It’s just about when he can move again. The rehab will certainly be done here because the season will be over.”

Wenger must decide whether to persist with the three-man defence he used in Monday’s win at Middlesbrough when he picks his team for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley. He will be without the centre-half Shkodran Mustafi, who is out for a couple of weeks with a thigh injury, while David Ospina (back), Lucas Pérez (thigh) and the midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide (ankle) are also unavailable. Danny Welbeck is a doubt because of a toe problem.

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