Arsene Wenger has ruled Jack Wilshere out of Wednesday's Champions League clash against Monaco but insists the midfielder has not suffered an injury setback.
The midfielder was an unused substitute for Arsenal's weekend tie against Crystal Palace in what was his first appearance in a matchday squad since November 22. Wilshere was forced to undergo surgery after damaging ankle ligaments against Manchester United.
With reports emerging this morning that Wilshere had suffered a setback in his bid to reach full fitness, Arsenal fans were worried that they would be without their homegrown hero for another spell. When the 23-year-old missed this morning's open training session, those fears grew further.
Wenger dispelled those rumours instead insisting that Wilshere will be rested after working hard in training. He still trained, but did so away from the squad in the club gym, according to one report and is likely to be involved in Sunday's Premier League tie against Everton.
"He trained hard to come back from injury, and we rested him - but no way is it a setback"
The Arsenal boss told reporters: "Wilshere missed training but it was just a precaution.
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"He trained hard to come back from injury, and we rested him - but no way is it a setback. He's not involved tomorrow [Wednesday] but will certainly be available for the weekend."
Right to be cautious
According to the report linked to above, Arsenal's medical staff have told Wenger that Wilshere could benefit from taking part in more strength work in the gym. The England international has suffered several serious ankle injuries in his short career and it seems the focus is now on securing long-term stability in his ankles ahead of match fitness.
If it works and Wilshere can finally play, perhaps, 60 games across two seasons, Arsenal fans are likely to see the best of Wilshere once again.
Will he be missed?
Arsenal could certainly do with Wilshere at the moment with both Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta keeping him company on the sidelines. Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin have been impressing in central midfield in their absence with Mesut Ozil playing a more advanced role.
With Cazorla in such good form and Coquelin providing much-needed protection for the defence, Arsenal have looked more balanced in recent weeks than at any other point during the season. As a result, the team that lines up against Monaco tomorrow is likely – with the exception of the right-back position – to be their strongest.
Do you think Santi Cazorla should stay Arsenal's first choice midfielder alongside Santi Cazorla or are you looking forward to having Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey back? Give us your views in the comment box below!