Pressure on Ramsey return heightened by Wilshere injury

Wilshere Ramsey

The Welshman may be back to play some part in next weekend's North London derby but Arsene Wenger had been keen not to rush him back after injury.

The international friendly debate threatened to rear its ugly head once more as news broke of Jack Wilshere's injury, with social media becoming a frenzy of frustration for Arsenal fans who questioned the wisdom of England's fixture against Denmark ahead of the club's daunting run of fixtures.

The hairline fracture in his left foot will rule Wilshere out for at least six weeks and while many will argue the logic of keeping a player on who had clearly sustained injury is a bizarre one, the damage had already been done.

Sure, staying on won't have helped the cause but it becomes unclear who exactly is to blame when Wilshere - famed for his combative style and high pain threshold - seemed more than content to stay on when the whack he received from Liverpool's Daniel Agger appeared a painful one to onlookers.

Stretchers were at the ready for his impending departure but does the blame not lie equally at the feet of manager Roy Hodgson for not being more assertive and making the change regardless of Wilshere's stance?

It explained Wilshere's subdued performance and while many focused on the fact he may have been caught up in his club side's current malaise with another below-par performance, it became clear just why he was not on song when the Gunners revealed the desperate news.

It needn't be all that bad, though, with Kim Källström and their star man Aaron Ramsey due to return from injury imminently.

Ramsey's presence could be the boost Arsenal need in the title race, one that Wenger failed to supply in the January transfer market, and will hope to continue his outstanding goalscoring run prior to the thigh injury he picked up at West Ham United, which has ruled him out ever since.

Make no mistake about it, Wilshere's loss will hurt Arsenal but his form of late has slowed in the same way their title challenge has and it may need a reinvigorated Ramsey tofind the missing touch in front of goal.

It seems staggering that only Yaya Toure and Eden Hazard have more Premier League goals from midfield despite the Welshman's prolonged spell on the sidelines.

But this is where caution must be urged. Wilshere's brittle bones have largely stemmed from over-usage by Wenger in previous years and his injury-hit career shows no signs of coming to a halt, while let us not forget that 2013 was the year of true recovery for Ramsey, who took his time to find his feet once more after breaking his leg in that clash with Ryan Shawcross at Stoke four years ago.

There are unhealthy expectation levels attached to Ramsey's return as if he is going to hit the ground running after so long away from first-team football. It is surely something the midfielder will embrace upon his return but he must be eased back in to avert any repeat of the injury woes which continue to haunt Wilshere.

His absence from dictating first-team proceedings will have hurt Ramsey, given his start to the season and his form had marked him out as a true candidate for player of the year.

While that title is probably beyond his reach now, he will have a chance to make an impact on his side's fortunes for the rest of the season and, undoubtedly buoyed by news of a new bumper £100,000-a-week contract, there are plenty of incentives to drive him on.

Wilshere's latest blow will act as one of them, but Ramsey must take a safety-first course of action if he is to prevent any laster-longing damage and scupper any hope of Arsenal have of clinching some elusive silverware.

image: © joncandy

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