In response to comments made earlier in the week by Stuart Pearce, Arsène Wenger has revealed that he is unsure whether Jack Wilshere will be fit at the start of next season, let alone in time to play at the Olympics.
Only a few days ago, Stuart Pearce said that Jack remains on his 80-man shortlist to play for Team GB at the end of July; fitness permitting Wilshere should easily make the final 18-man squad. However, Wenger says that it is unrealistic to set any such target. Players (as we have seen on many occasions at Arsenal and particularly in this case) can suffer from injury setbacks which make it impossible to predict when they will have fully recovered.
“You cannot say [Pearce's] statement was completely helpful.
“I do not want to set the Olympics as a target because I do not know whether he [Wilshere] will be fit to start at the beginning of the season. It is our target to get him to improve.
“I am cautious with him. Imagine you are 19 years old and you play in the national team. You prepare and suddenly, nothing at all. You get the first knock, the second knock, you think: ‘OK, at least I will be ready for the Euros’. Then you have to convince him: ‘Look, my friend, it will not work for the Euros.’ You knock him down again. Then, you set him another target. If he doesn’t make it, he will lose a complete appetite for rehab because it is difficult. You must work every day on the machines, not knowing when you come back.
“If you say, ‘You can go to Olympics,’ and he doesn’t make it, what do you give him after? Let’s take our time and not set any specific targets.
“When we start pre-season on July 9, if he can join in, then we have won the battle but that is not guaranteed.”
The general gist of Wenger’s comments are that he will not set any targets for Jack’s recovery because it is upsetting and demoralising when they are missed – you are essentially setting goals that are almost impossible to achieve. The target is simply to ensure that there is a day to day improvement and that his recovery is heading in the right direction.
Only the Arsenal doctors and physio’s can really know why Wilshere’s recovery is taking so long. I personally fail to understand how an ankle injury picked up last July can still be causing this many problems. Then again, there is a reason that they are paid to diagnose and analyse these issues and I am not…