World Cup doubt over England star Jack Wilshere because of broken foot
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere faces a race to return to full fitness ahead of the World Cup after being ruled out for six weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.
Wilshere, who remains 1/6 to make Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for Brazil, sustained the injury on international duty with the Three Lions during their 1-0 Wembley friendly win over Denmark.
National boss Hodgson subbed him just before the hour mark, but Wilshere received lengthy treatment in the first-half following a challenge by Daniel Agger.
“Following initial scans carried out by the FA on Wednesday night,” an official statement on the Gunners website began, “further investigation by Arsenal’s medical team has discovered a crack to a small bone in Jack’s left foot.
“Jack will now require a period of approximately six weeks’ rehabilitation, before starting to regain his match fitness.” The statement also confirmed that the broken bone was one Wilshere had never injured before.
He should return for the Gunners before the end of the season as six weeks puts his estimated return date in mid-April around the Easter weekend. Arsenal travel to Hull on April 19th and then have three more Premier League games against Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich.
Wilshere has been operating in a deeper-lying midfield role recently, both for club and country. Arsenal have cover here in Mathieu Flamini and vice-captain Mikel Arteta. Aaron Ramsey is also set to return by the middle of March from a thigh strain.
England, however, have fewer options open to them in this area. Skipper Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick were the only members of the last squad that play as holding midfielders regularly. The glut of talented youngsters on Hodgson’s roster are all deployed further forward for their clubs.
Injury to Wilshere could enhance the chances of 33-year-old Gareth Barry earning an international recall. On loan at Everton from Manchester City, he has been rejuvenated under Roberto Martinez and is an 8/1 shot to make the plane to Brazil.
Hodgson names his World Cup squad, plus seven players on standby, on May 13th – two days after the Premier League season ends, but before the FA Cup final. Arsenal are two steps away from reaching that, but face Everton in the first of the quarter-finals next.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners are odds-on favourites to win that home tie at 4/5 and qualify for the semis at 4/9. Arsenal are 3/1 shots to go all the way and lift the FA Cup.