Wilshere facing World Cup fitness race after nine-week injury lay-off

The Arsenal midfielder's broken foot will take six weeks to heal and he will then need another two to three weeks to recover his match fitness, meaning he could be out until May
By Wayne Veysey

Jack Wilshere faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup amid fears at Arsenal his foot injury will keep him out for up to nine weeks.

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The midfielder's rehabilitation will take six weeks and his club expect him to take another two to three weeks to regain match fitness.

This effectively rules Wilshere out of first-team action until the second weekend in May, meaning he will play little or no part in Arsenal's run-in as they attempt to end their nine-year trophy drought.

With the final round of Premier League matches scheduled for May 11, the Gunners accept that they are reduced to preparing Wilshere to be fit for the World Cup.

The 22-year-old was understood to be wearing a protective boot on his left foot on Thursday night after a scan at Arsenal's London Colney headquarters earlier in the day had revealed the extent of the damage sustained in a challenge with Denmark's Daniel Agger during the first half of England's 1-0 friendly win on Wednesday.

Wilshere continued playing after stretcher bearers came on the pitch and he completed 59 minutes before being replaced by Adam Lallana.

The midfielder was given the all-clear by the England medical staff in the immediate aftermath of the match. "It is a bit sore, but just a bruise," he said. "I have had a scan already and I will be all right."

However, Wilshere is believed to have been in agony when he arrived at London Colney on Thursday morning.

Arsenal's medical staff sanctioned a second scan on the player's foot, which discovered a hairline fracture on the navicular bone.

Wilshere will undergo six weeks' rehabilitation before starting to regain match fitness, with Arsenal expected to send their talisman overseas for warm weather training to aid his recovery after further assessments on the damaged area.

Privately, Arsenal do not expect the midfielder to have much involvement in the run-in for what would be the third consecutive season.

Wilshere missed missed the majority of the final months of last season with a reccurence of his long-standing ankle problems, which had contributed to him missing the entirety of the 2011-12 season.