Arsene Wenger believes that Jack Wilshere needs ‘one or two years’ injury-free before he can regain his full confidence.
Much has been made of Wilshere’s ‘troublesome‘ ankles, in fact, as I write this I’m looking at a BBC report that uses that very phrase in the paragraph that immediately follows one stating that his latest problem came about after a ‘heavy challenge’ by Manchester United’s Paddy McNair, almost as if the two are in no way connected.
While there is no doubt that his right ankle has been a problem, there is also no denying that anyone would have been crippled by the atrocious, unpunished tackle by the United youngster which hit his ‘good‘ ankle in November.
Back to full fitness but yet to feature for the first team since getting 177 minutes under his belt for the u21’s, Wenger told reporters “He needs one or two years without problems to get the full confidence and belief back.”
Undergoing surgery in the wake of McNair’s challenge, Wilshere required a second operation on his left ankle to remove pins which were causing him discomfort, an operation the club had been hoping to delay until the summer but were unable to put off.
It was a stress fracture to his right that ruled him out for 17 months early into his Arsenal career.
Wenger added “The players are always ready when they come back from injury but it takes much longer than they think to get sharp again.
“In the Premier League it is a fraction of a second that makes you efficient or not.
“[Wilshere] needs competition. At the moment, every week he is stronger, he is getting back to the level now. This week was the first week he is sharp again.
“His strength is in the final third, offensively. That is where he really expresses his talent. It is difficult to get in this team, I don’t deny that. If you consider any individual case you can say you are sorry that he doesn’t play.