Wenger refuses to risk playmaker against Bayern over ankle concerns.
Arsene Wenger has revealed he could not risk Jack Wilshere for Arsenal’s crunch Champions League clash with Bayern Munich because he fears the playmaker could suffer another career-threatening injury.
Wilshere returned to action for the Gunners in October, after missing 17 months with a stress fracture to his left ankle.
The 21-year-old is currently in Dubai recuperating after bruising his right ankle and the youngster will also miss Arsenal’s Premier League match at Swansea and England’s World Cup qualifying double header with San Marino and Montenegro.
Wenger has revealed that with any another player, he might have gambled in Bavaria but says the club remain cautious about Wilshere’s welfare.
“Normally, if he had not had his history, you should say maybe he can go on. But with the history we had last time, the specialist said we cannot take this gamble.
“It was bone bruising last time, which deteriorated into a stress fracture.
“That is what we don’t want to happen – nobody knows if it was going to happen again.
“We do a regular scan on him and, on one of the scans, it showed up bone bruising on the heel on the right foot.
“He had some inflammation on the right ankle, where he had surgery, and certainly compensated to protect that ankle, and put too much pressure on the left one.
“Hopefully, for the Premier League he will only miss one game, because after [Saturday’s game against Swansea] is an international break and hopefully we can slowly prepare him.”
Wilshere has played almost non-stop since returning to the Gunners starting line-up and Wenger hinted that the midfielder’s enforced absence might benefit the team for their crucial Premier League run-in.
“I noticed in the last two games he had to dig deep.
“For us it is not welcome, but maybe for him it is not too bad that he has a little breather. It is more about prevention.”
Wenger is hopeful that Wilshere, who has played 28 times this season since making his comeback, will be fit for Arsenal’s next home game against Reading on 30 March.
The Arsenal boss believes his absence from the Bayern match will be a small price to pay if it prevents the pass-master from suffering another long-term injury.
“We trust people who are specialists in this area and they told us we have to stop him from playing Bayern.
“Of course, you ideally want him there with us. He was out for 17 months and we had to deal with it, so we must be able to do it for two or three weeks.”
Arsenal trail Bayern Munich 3-1 from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and currently sit fifth in the Premier League, seven points behind third-placed Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand over their neighbours.