Jack Wilshere has been out of action for four weeks, as he recovers from a hairline fracture on his left foot which he sustained in England’s friendly win against Denmark earlier this month.
It was initially feared that the 22-year-old would miss the rest of Arsenal’s league campaign as well as the World Cup in the summer, but that is no longer the case, with Wilshere just a few weeks away from returning to action.
Wilshere could return for Arsenal’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle on April 28, giving him just three games to regain match fitness, plus a potential FA Cup final.
This will be enough time for him to prove to Roy Hodgson that he is ready to go to his first international tournament with England, as the provisional 30-man squad is set to be announced in mid-May.
The Arsenal midfielder has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, but will hope that his latest setback will not affect his chances of travelling to Brazil.
But as a result of his time on the sidelines, others have been able to impress, and the likes of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley will be prominent in Hodgson’s thoughts.
The competition for places in the centre of midfield will be giving the England manager a real dilemma, as those playing regularly, and in fine-form will be hard to ignore.
Paul Scholes recently criticised Jack Wilshere, and claimed that he hasn’t improved as a player since he was 17.
“Jack Wilshere came on the scene and what a really top young player he looked but he's never really gone on,” Scholes said.
“Injuries haven't helped him, no, but his development from being 17 years of age ... he doesn't look any better a player now than he did when he was 17.”
Arsene Wenger has rejected Scholes comments, and has hit back at the former Manchester United midfielder.
“You cannot say that, Jack Wilshere is an exceptional player for me who has been handicapped by many injuries,” he said.
“Once Jack is back and consistently on the pitch, he will prove everybody wrong about that because he is an exceptional player - and Scholes knows that as well.”
Wilshere has made 23 appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring three times with three assists to his name.
He is an important part of the Arsenal midfield, and adds a tenacity to their game with his fast-paced style of play.
He has created 31 chances for his teammates this term, but there are others around the country who are impressing every week in Wilshere’s absence.
Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard are both in fine form, and are part of a Liverpool squad brimming with confidence as they sit top of the Premier League.
Adam Lallana seems to get better every week, and many now feel he has to start for England, let alone travel as part of the squad.
With Ross Barkley another who has performed well all season, and his wonderful solo-goal against Newcastle last Tuesday only enhanced his chances.
Another who will surely be a part of the 23-man squad is Wilshere’s Arsenal teammate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Chamberlain has benefitted from Wilshere’s absence and has performed well in the middle of the park for Arsenal.
Wilshere should not be guaranteed a place in the England squad, but if he can rediscover his best form in a short space of time before the World Cup, then he will surely go.
He missed Euro 2012 through injury, and will be desperately hoping that this summer will not see him miss out once more.