Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Jack Wilshere will not make his long-awaited return to action with the in the visit of West Bromwich Albion on Thursday night (21 April) but suggested that the England international could be back in contention for the weekend trip to Sunderland. The French boss, meanwhile, also provided positive news in the recovery of Santi Cazorla after revealing that the Spaniard is already back in full training with the rest of his teammates. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, remains on the sidelines.
Wilshere is yet to play a single game for the Arsenal first team this season after he broke his fibula in a training ground accident in August. However the 24-year-old midfielder has played three games for the U-21 side in recent weeks to step up his recovery and even scored a goal in the defeat to the West Brom reserves on Monday.
The midfielder required treatment in his knee during the first-half of that game but was able to get back on the pitch to score his first goal in 11 months and complete the full 90 minutes of the game. Wenger has played down any concerns about a setback in his recovery but claimed that the Thursday game will still come too early for the England international.
"He (Wilshere) has absorbed well his first obstacle of getting games. That means he has finally got 90 minutes and he has had no setbacks and the positives are that in every game he was sharper. That means he has a good fitness basis. Overall, the progression should be normal. I don't think he will be available for selection [against West Brom], but from then it is whether I select him or not," Wenger said in the press conference while encouraging the midfielder to prove his fitness in the last part of the season to make the Euro 2016.
"The European Championship starts on June 10 and until then is nearly two months. If you look at his fitness at the moment, in two months he should be perfectly fit.
Cazorla, meanwhile, has been on the sidelines since the 1-1 draw with Norwich City on 29 November, being originally ruled out for an knee ligament injury while later being delayed in his comeback due to a problem in his achilles. Yet, Wenger has claimed that the Spanish international is finally back in full training and in line to help his side in the last part of the campaign.
"He has joined normal training and he looks OK, of course still a bit short on the competitiveness front," he said. "We will try to get him maybe more training, and then join us directly maybe (without the need to play for the U-21s first)"
Wenger, meanwhile, claimed that he has now any fresh injury concerns, meaning that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the only Arsenal player in the treatment table at the moment.
"Everybody is available from our last game against Crystal Palace. We have no big injuries. We will have a final test today. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the only one not practising now."