Arsene Wenger has revealed there is no guarantee Jack Wilshere will be fit enough to make the start of Arsenal’s 2012/13 Premier League campaign.
Wilshere has not played since June after picking up an ankle injury while on International duty with England, with the 20-year-old undergoing surgery and suffering setbacks which have forced him to sit out the entire season.
Wenger revealed earlier this month that Wilshere won’t be fit to take part in England’s Euro 2012 campaign this summer, while also casting doubt over his availability to play for Stuart Pearce’s Team GB at the Olympics in July.
Now the Frenchman has admitted Wilshere’s return to action return to action may be delayed even further after revealing it is a possibility he could6 still be on the treatment table when next season gets underway in August.
"I do not want to set the Olympics as a target because I do not know whether he [Wilshere] will be fit to start at the beginning of the season, Wenger told reporters. ” It is our target to get him to improve.
"I am cautious with him. Imagine you are 19 years old and you play in the national team. You prepare and suddenly, nothing at all. You get the first knock, the second knock, you think: 'OK, at least I will be ready for the Euros'.
"Then you have to convince him: 'Look, my friend, it will not work for the Euros.' You knock him down again. Then, you set him another target.
"If he doesn't make it, he will lose a complete appetite for rehab because it is difficult. You must work every day on the machines, not knowing when you come back.
"If you say, 'You can go to Olympics,' and he doesn't make it, what do you give him after? Let's take our time and not set any specific targets."
There was some better news regarding Theo Walcott however, after Wenger had initially feared he may miss out on Euro 2012 because of a hamstring injury.
“With Theo, it is less serious than we thought,” he commented. “He has a small chance to play in the last game. He won't play against Norwich [next Saturday], but for the Euros there is no doubt.”
Arsenal travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke this weekend, three points clear of Newcastle in third place.