Wilshere injury another blow for struggling Arsenal

Arsenal suffered the latest blow in a turbulent opening to their season, with the news that Jack Wilshere is to have surgery on an ankle injury, keeping the midfielder out of action for a number of months. As Arsene Wenger’s men look to improve on their disappointing early season form, the loss of Wilshere is a further blow to a midfield becoming unrecognisable from that seen in recent years.

With the high-profile summer departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, the loss of Wilshere, believed to be until at least December, is a blow to Wenger’s plans to restructure a side around his remaining key players. Although the signings of Mikel Arteta from Everton and Yossi Benayoun on loan from Chelsea offer quality and experience in midfield, in the absence of Wilshere, the Gunners lose the continuity of a player who has become an important feature of the Arsenal side.

After an impressive season which saw Wilshere produce a number of stand-out displays, including a strong performance against Barcelona in the Champions League, as well as establishing himself in Fabio Capello’s England side and scooping the PFA Young Player of the Year award, protecting the 19-year-old has been a priority for his club.

Having originally been a part of Stuart Pearce’s plans for the summer’s 2011 European Under-21 Championship, against the wishes of Arsenal boss Wenger, Wilshere was eventually left out of the squad for the finals, after discussions with Arsenal’s sports science staff, highlighting the effects of a gruelling schedule on the player’s conditioning. With the player seemingly at risk of injury, Wilshere was eventually excused from the summer tournament.

Despite the apparent steps to preserve the player’s well-being, the injury sustained by the player will come as a blow to both club and country. A regular in recent internationals, Wilshere will now be unavailable for England’s October Euro 2012 qualifiers in Montenegro, as well as key club fixtures, including trips to London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, in the same month.

With Arsenal finding themselves well adrift of their rivals after the early exchanges of the new season, losing a player who made 49 appearances for the Gunners last season will come as a blow. Despite the midfielder’s tender age, Wilshere has almost become a senior player in the side, having emerged in the absence of fellow Arsenal starlet, Aaron Ramsey and impressed in a loan spell at Owen Coyle’s Bolton Wanderers, the reigning Young Player of the Year’s importance to his club has been further highlighted by his extended period on the sidelines.

With a further headache for Wenger, following a troubled few months, the Arsenal manager and his staff will be hoping to see Wilshere back in action as soon as possible, as Arsenal cling to hopes for success this season.

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