x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Arsene Wenger: Unfair to criticise Arsenal doctors

Arsenal's medical staff have handled the injury situation of Jack Wilshere - who will be out of action for five months - the manager insists.

Arsene Wenger has defended the Arsenal medical staff over the way Jack Wilshere's injury has been managed.

Wilshere will be out of action for up to five months after undergoing surgery on a stress fracture in his right ankle on Monday.

The England midfielder has been sidelined with the problem since pre-season and, although he initially hoped to be back within a few weeks, he was forced to go in for the operation after it became clear rest was not helping to heal the ankle.

Wilshere had suffered the injury during a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June and Fabio Capello, the England coach, has angered Arsenal by claiming the club's doctors allowed the 19 year old to go on holiday rather than treat him straight away.

Capello is not alone in his questioning of Arsenal's medics but Wenger is adamant there was nothing wrong with the way Wilshere's injury was managed and insists the criticism has been provoked by his side's slow start to the season.

"It is unfair because the club's medical staff hasn't made any mistakes on that front," Wenger said yesterday, ahead of Arsenal's Champions League tie against Olympiakos at the Emirates. "The red colour [of Arsenal's shirts] seems to attract a lot of criticism. When we don't do as well as expected we get criticised. It shows we are a very popular club. We have to accept it."

Wenger has more injury concerns ahead of the game against the Greek side with Theo Walcott, Gervinho and Laurent Koscielny all ruled out.

The good news for Wenger is that the trio's recovery time is expected to be quick.

He rates Walcott's chances of returning for this weekend's north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur as better than 50-50 and retains hope Koscielny and Gervinho could also be fit for the trip to Spurs.