Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere is unlikely to be back until late February Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for three months after undergoing surgery on ankle ligament damage suffered in the defeat to Manchester United.

Wilshere went off after 55 minutes in the 2-1 loss at the Emirates Stadium after a late tackle from United defender Paddy McNair but manager Arsene Wenger had hoped the 22-year-old midfielder would make a full recovery without needing to go under the knife.

However, after seeing a specialist ahead of schedule regarding the problem, Wilshere has been ruled out until February and will miss a substantial part of Arsenal's season.

"An assessment with a specialist confirmed the need for an operation and the 22-year-old had successful surgery to his ankle in London on Thursday afternoon," an Arsenal statement read.

"Jack will now commence his injury rehabilitation programme with the Arsenal medical team.

"Everyone at the club wishes Jack a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

The former Bolton Wanderers loanee wrote on Instagram: "Ankle needed surgery in the end, went well thanks to the main man James Calder! Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight.

"You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticises you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive."

With Wilshere not expected to return until the end of February, the player could miss as many as 15 Premier League games, as well both legs of the Champions League last-16 and the third, fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup.

The operation represents the third time Wilshere has required surgery on an ankle injury in four years after going under the knife twice to fix a long-term issue in 2011 and 2013.

Though the injury is to Wilshere's right ankle, rather than the one that required substantial rehabilitation, Wenger had feared the midfielder would be absent for a substantial period.

"There is no bone damage we knew that away straight after the game but it's ligament damage," the Arsenal manager said on Tuesday 25 November. "The extension of how much it is we will know next week. It's the other ankle, the good ankle.

"It's so sad because he just came back and in the big games he has that personality. He shows he is not scared to play and scared to want the ball always.

"He refuses to lose the ball and is ready to put his body on the line. It is part of his game as well.

"He struggled for a while with his right ankle but he found his mobility back. I hope it will not be surgery but he will be few weeks but I don't think after mentally it will be too much."