All Guns Blazing: Arsenal star’s long injury absence needs explaining
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
In the aftermath of England’s miraculous but deserved victory over Germany, thoughts quickly turned to the make-up of Roy Hodgson’s squad for the European Championship and the will he, won’t he question of Jack Wilshere.
The 24-year-old is yet to play for Arsenal this season after suffering a hairline fracture on the eve of the campaign.
The initial diagnosis was that the ‘accidental collision’ on the training ground would keep him out for ‘a few weeks’ according to Arsene Wenger.
In September it then changed to three months after he was forced to undergo an operation because the fracture was slow to heal but Arsenal fans were told he would be back and firing like a new signing by December/January.
However as it stands, Wilshere is still no closer to pulling on an Arsenal shirt. Whenever Wenger is asked for an update, he falls back on his default line of ‘three or four weeks’.
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But enough is enough. It’s time for Arsenal to be honest and forthcoming about precisely what is preventing Wilshere from making his return.
It seems unfathomable a hairline fracture can rule someone out for an entire season, even when you take into account Wilshere’s frankly appalling injury record.
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In October, he made an appearance on Sky Sports to talk about his recovery. But you couldn’t help but notice the sadness in his eyes and downbeat vocalisation as he spoke.
This was a man who had grown weary of his best years being stolen by yet another cruel injury.
Why always him? That must be the overwhelming feeling as he wakes up for another day of rehab, while his team-mates run freely on the training pitch.
It’s reached a point where Wilshere has been absent for so long, people have forgotten about his undoubted class.
Very few in his position come remotely close to his level of ability. At present his only contemporaries are Dele Alli and Ross Barkley.
But with each day that passes without him playing, the more critics grow sceptical and cynical.
Perhaps it’s his off the field misdemeanours which mean Wilshere attracts little sympathy.
Because his ability on the pitch should mean Arsenal and England fans are crossing all their fingers and toes in faint hope he will return quicker.
Thankfully for Wilshere, Hodgson has given him a lifetime, insisting he would give him every chance to prove his fitness before the summer tournament. That should give him a goal to chase when the rehab gets tedious.
Whether he can return for Arsenal in their final nine games is debatable but his presence has been greatly missed when you consider the balance, cohesion and creative issues the team has struggled with this season.
Whatever happens, Wilshere is a player worth waiting for. He’s special and deserves to be treated as such. Let’s hope for Arsenal and England’s sake that we get to see it again soon.
Follow me @UcheAmako