Jack Wilshere will hand Arsenal and England a major injury boost with the news that he's just a month away from returning to action.
The 21-year-old has missed the entire season with a ankle problem picked up during pre-season, which saw the youngster undergo surgery in September.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed last month Wilshere had suffered a set back in his recovery, leading to reports he could miss the rest of the season, with his participation in the summer's European Championships hanging in the balance.
However Wenger said prior to his side's Champions league tie against AC Milan: "Jack can be back within a month if all goes well.
"The recovery of his latest problems looks very good. The latest scan was very positive," added Wenger.
"We go cautiously step-by-step because we tried to push him back quicker in the first instance and he had a setback. So this time we have to be cautious and not go too quick.
"He can be back before then end of the season, of course."
Following a season on loan at Bolton Wanderers, Wilshere broke into the Arsenal first-team for the first time last season, and firmly established himself in the England national team under then Fabio Capello.
Prior to his summer injury, Wenger had warned against burnout, with the midfielder already exposed to the pressures of domestic and international football.
It was while on club duty however that Wilshere suffered the original problem, lasting just seven minutes against New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup.
His impending return will come as a huge boost to Arsenal's chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
Wilshere will also hope his recovery will be in time to allow him to contribute to the club's Champions League and FA Cup campaigns.
Having failed to turn out for England since June's draw with Switzerland, Wilshere will be eager to get sufficient game time under his belt to propel himself into contention for Euro 2012.
Meanwhile, Wenger has also confirmed that German defender Per Mertesacker will be absent for at least a month after a nasty fall during the trip to Sunderland.
The former Werder Bremen centre-back fell awkwardly in the lead up to the Black Cats taking the lead at the Stadium of Light, suffering an injury add to a defensive injury list that includes Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos.
"He had a reconstruction of his ankle in Germany before he joined us and the scan didn't look too positive yesterday," Wenger said.
"He went back to Germany to consult the specialist to see where we go from there and he is supposed to contact me this afternoon to tell me exactly what the specialist told him.
"Certainly in the next month he will not be with us."
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