Wilshere blow to Arsenal’s title hopes

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iol spt feb6 Wilshere Getty Images Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere will be sidelined for at least six weeks after sustaining a hairline fracture to his left foot. Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

London - Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere will be sidelined for at least six weeks after sustaining a hairline fracture to his left foot, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old central midfielder, who has a history of injury problems, picked up the fracture in a 50-50 challenge with Daniel Agger in the early stages of England's 1-0 friendly win over Denmark on Wednesday.

After collapsing to the ground in apparent agony and receiving treatment from England's medical staff, he was able to continue playing until being substituted in the 59th minute.

Both England manager Roy Hodgson and Wilshere himself claimed after the game that his foot was only “bruised”, but further scans revealed the full extent of the injury.

“Jack Wilshere has sustained a hairline fracture to the navicular bone in his left foot,” read a statement on the Arsenal website.

“Wilshere suffered the injury during England's international match with Denmark on Wednesday night at Wembley Stadium, in which he played 59 minutes.

“Following initial scans carried out by the FA (Football Association) on Wednesday night, further investigation by Arsenal's medical team has discovered a crack to a small bone in Jack's left foot - the navicular, an area of his foot which has not been previously injured.

“Jack will now require a period of approximately six weeks' rehabilitation, before starting to regain his match fitness.”

News of Wilshere's injury arrives at an untimely juncture for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side are competing for honours on three fronts and host Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

They then visit Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week, when they will seek to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their last 16 tie.

As well as those games, Wilshere stands to miss key Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City later this month.

However, the initial prognosis suggests that his chances of playing at the World Cup in Brazil are not at risk, with Hodgson due to name his 23-man squad for the tournament on May 13.

Arsenal have already seen one of their England players succumb to a season-ending injury, with winger Theo Walcott having been ruled out of the World Cup after damaging knee ligaments in January.

Sapa-AFP


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