Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Carl Jenkinson has returned to Arsenal to face six months out after suffering a cruciate ligament injury. Jenkinson, 23, rejoined West Ham United on a season-long loan at the start of the 2015-16 campaign, but suffered what the club has described as a significant knee injury during the 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Saturday 23 January 2016.
Hammers manager Slaven Bilic told reporters on Thursday that the club are waiting to learn the extent of the injury, but speaking at a press conference ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup fourth-round clash with Burnley, Wenger confirmed the defender is now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. "He [Jenkinson] won't play again this season – he has a cruciate ligament injury that rules him out for six months," Wenger said.
Despite the setback for Jenkinson, Wenger's current squad is nearing full fitness for the first time this season with 23 of his 25 players back in full training, with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla the only remaining absentees. Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky are both in line to make their first-team returns on Staurday when the Gunners host Burnley, and Wenger is hopeful that the Frenchman can quickly win back his role in the first-team.
"Coquelin give us stability in midfield. Before he was injured he had very good spell in the team, the performances were good, his defensive work was good," Wenger said. "He is now in position where he can compete again for his position."
There was also encouraging news about Danny Welbeck, who is now back in training with the first team. The former Manchester United forward hasn't played since April 2015, but Wenger is hopeful that after a couple of matches for the club's under-21 ranks he would be back in contention.
"Welbeck is not completely ready but he is not far. He needs a game or two because he's been out since last April. The Stoke [under-21] game is too soon because he only had one session with the team, and that is too short."