Arsenal have categorically denied that midfielder Jack Wilshere has suffered an injury setback following his ankle operation and will be out of action for five months.
The England international, who was injured during last month's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United following a challenge by Paddy McNair, is still on course to return to action by late January, despite a report by The Sun claiming he would be sidelined until March.
Arsenal have confirmed that the 22-year-old is 'doing well' following surgery - and have reassured fans that the talented central midfielder should be back to full fitness before February.
"He’s doing well after surgery and he is three months away from a return as originally stated," a spokesman for the Gunners told Sky Sports News. "There’s been no setback."
The spokesman also added that the club were 'disappointed with the reports' which appear to be someway wide of the mark.
Wilshere's injury-hit career
Wilshere has struggled with various injury problems throughout his career; he missed the entire 2011-12 season with a stress fracture ankle injury and has continued to look fragile ever since.
His form prior to his injury was excellent, and under-fire manager Arsene Wenger will be desperate to get him back next month before the Champions League campaign resumes.
Similarly, England boss Roy Hodgson will be hoping Wilshere returns to top form before the Three Lions' next Euro 2016 qualifier on March 27.
Wenger under pressure
Arsenal won their three matches after Wilshere's untimely injury - against Borussia Dortmund, West Brom and Southampton - before Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
The Gunners conceded three first-half goals against the Potters, but were unable to salvage a point despite netting two goals in three second-half minutes.
A video emerged on Sunday showing a group of Arsenal fans hurling abuse at Wenger, the Premier League's current longest-serving manager, which has been heavily criticised by the majority of viewers.
There's a growing feeling that this could be Wenger's final season in charge of the Gunners, but it still seems unlikely that the Gunners will sack the veteran Frenchman, regardless of whether the north London outfit finish the season without a major trophy.