World Cup watch: Wenger assures Hodgson of Wilshere’s Brazil fitness
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has assured England national boss Roy Hodgson that midfielder Jack Wilshere will be fit in time for the World Cup.
Wilshere, 22, picked up a hairline fracture in his foot when playing in England’s last international – a World Cup warm-up friendly win over Denmark in March – and has not played for his club since.
Hodgson names a 30-man provisional squad on May 13th once the Premier League season has concluded, which he must then whittle down to 23 before the finals.
“I told him that Wilshere will be available,” Wenger said. “He will be just polished. He is starting to jog this week. I would think two to three weeks [before he returns]. Jack can be the positive surprise.”
Wilshere may yet play for Arsenal on their final day trip to relegation-threatened Norwich, and could also be involved in the FA Cup final against Hull City.
During yet another injury-hit campaign for the versatile central midfielder, other young English talents have shone. Wilshere remains odds-on (at 1/6) with Coral for a spot on Hodgson’s final World Cup roster, but so are Southampton skipper Adam Lallana (1/4), and Liverpool pair Raheem Sterling (also 1/4) and Jordan Henderson (1/3).
Sterling, in particular, has risen to prominence as Brendan Rodgers’ Reds close in on a first ever Premier League era title. Everton starlet Ross Barkley (4/9), meanwhile, looks set to make the plane to Brazil.
Wilshere’s fellow Arsenal academy product Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (4/11) could also be used centrally by Hodgson. There is also the old guard of Michael Carrick (1/3), Three Lions captain Steven Gerrard (1/20) and Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard (1/2) competing for midfield berths on the roster.
The likes of Tom Cleverley (2/1), Gareth Barry (8/1) and Hull heavyweight Tom Huddlestone (20/1), meanwhile, are outside shouts.
England are third-favourites to top their World Cup group behind four-time winners Italy and twice global champions Uruguay at 2/1, yet are odds-on to reach the knockout phase at 8/15. Their pool also contains Costa Rica.