Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hairline fracture, which will delay his return from injury. Manager Arsene Wenger says the England international will not make an expected return against Stoke City, throwing into doubt his participation over the coming weeks.
Wilshere had initially been expected back following the international break after suffering an injury during training but his continued absence sparks questions over the club's treatment of the 23-year-old. Wilshere made nine Premier League starts last term after undergoing ankle surgery and is set for a similarly disrupted campaign less than a year out from the European Championships.
"I expected Jack to be back and available and it's slower than expected," the Arsenal boss said ahead of the resumption of the Premier League season against Stoke City, according to The Mirror. "He had a little setback, I don't know quite what. I have to talk to my medical staff."
The news regarding Wilshere is not the only piece of negative injury news for Arsenal after Wenger confirmed striker Danny Welbeck, who was ruled out for "a period of months" following knee surgery, will be out until at least Christmas. The ex-Manchester United player has not featured since April with the problem and Wenger has responded angrily to accusations he knew about his absence ahead of the window closing.
"I did not like to read that I lied on Welbeck and knowing," he added. "I did not discover how long Welbeck would be out for until the Friday night, after my press conference. The players we have know what they need to do. They have ability, they have ambition and we need to stand behind them."
Per Mertesacker, who has missed Arsenal's last two games against Liverpool and Newcastle United due to illness, is fit to return for the visit of Stoke City, while Laurent Koscielny is also available. The France international was left out of the friendly win over Serbia due to a back problem but Wenger says he has no addition injury problems following the international break.
"Nobody has come back injured from international duty," the Arsenal boss explained. "Laurent Koscielny is fit and trained yesterday. Mertesacker is back in full training."