Arsene Wenger has refused to put a date on Jack Wilshere’s return to first team action claiming Arsenal must ‘respect’ the player’s recovery.
The midfielder, who required an operation on his ankle in November, had returned to first team training at the end of last month, but is again on the sidelines after requiring a follow-up procedure.
The boss had stressed at the time of the latest surgery, undertaken to remove buttons from the troublesome joint, that the midfielder’s return would be delayed by a matter of days not weeks.
Speaking to press ahead of Saturday’s game with West Ham the boss hinted that Wilshere now won’t be available until at least April.
“It’s very difficult to say when he will be back. We have to respect his recovery.”
Meanwhile, Wilshere has lauded the progress of his former youth team midfield compatriot, Francis Coquelin, who has become a key presence in the Arsenal side over the last couple of months.
Speaking to the official match day programme, he said, “I used to wind him up by saying, ‘Listen, you do all the dirty work and the tackling and then let me have the ball!’
“But the thing is, he loves that side of it. He’s really good at it, he’s tenacious, the way he always goes after the ball. Not everyone has that ability to win the ball back and to be aggressive.
“I think there’s much more to come from him as well. He’s a great defensive midfielder, but going forward he was always a threat in the youth team. I think he can score goals too.”