A Dutch coach and fitness expert has said it will take Theo Walcott a staggering nine months to return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury without the risk of further complications.
Walcott picked up the injury during the FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur, which prompted that 2-0 gesture and Raymond Verheijen has revealed that original reports suggesting six months out are optimistic.
“Walcott needs proper rehab. It is takes nine months but once you are back you are so fit you will not pick up an injury again and you will give your career a major boost,” he told Goal.com.
The comments suggest possible complications if Arsene Wenger rushes the winger and forward back for the start of next season.
There is no chance Walcott will go to the World Cup with England this summer and the aim for Arsenal is to nurse him through pre-season to a point where he could play a part at the start of next season.
However, Verheijen says a return date of around September is more optimistic and a safer option for the club.
“That is what often happens with ACL players. In the six months after the player returns he picks up another three injuries because he didn’t develop a good firmament in rehab and he was rushed back. When you rush a player back in six to seven months he will pick up a new injury and he is then threatening his career,” he adds.
Fortunately for Arsenal, they are well covered across their midfield with the emergence of Serge Gnabry this season taking care of the right midfield role.
Arsenal also have a little bit of cover up front in the form of Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bendtner and Arsene Wenger has the funds at his disposal to buy well in the summer, if Walcott is out for longer than first anticipated.
It’s a problem and a thorn in the side of Wenger and the club because Walcott is, and will continue to be, a very important player for the club but his quality and impact as a player can’t override further injuries which could hamper his progress and career.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald