France has ‘good opportunity’ to win Euro 2016: Arsene Wenger in London Colney

Danny Welbeck is out with a bad knee injury

Danny Welbeck is out with a bad knee injury - Credit: Archant

Arsenal’s boss talks about Danny Welbeck’s knee injury ahead of this weekend’s Premier League game, and the European Championship.

Danny Welbeck’s knee injury has been ‘devastating’ to Arsenal’s boss, Arsene Wenger, and the club’s players, he said today (Friday) in London Colney.

During his weekly press conference at the club’s training grounds near St Albans, Wenger said in relation to the forward’s recent surgery on damaged cartilage, “I’m very sad”.

Welbeck is expected to take nine months to fully recover, which rules him out of the European Championship and the first half of next season.

His knee operation was undertaken after he received the injury during Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City.

Wenger said that to lose his forward “for such a long time, after a year out, when you are 25 years old, professional and you get things [happening] like that, you … hope it will be a shorter timescale than that [for his recovery].”

Aside from the impact on Arsenal, he said it was also a huge blow for England, and that it was a “great shame” Welbeck would not be able to play for the side, particularly as he is a “key player”.

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In other team news ahead of this Sunday’s (15) Premier League match against Aston Villa, he said that Mesut Ozil had returned to training, following his hip injury, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain [knee injury] was “still not back”.

Asked whether he would be ‘tempted’ to start Jack Wilshere this weekend, Wenger said that he had not yet decided the line-up, but the midfielder “could start – he can play 65 minutes in an intensive game.

“I haven’t decided yet but there is no problem with deciding whether he can play.”

Wenger praised Arsenal star Theo Walcott, saying that he should be chosen for Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2016 as, “he could be a positive surprise for England.

“In the last month he has come back very strongly.”

The England boss will name his 23 players for the tournament in France on Monday.

Asked to reveal which team Wenger thought would win Euro 2016, he said that France “has a good opportunity”, particularly as they usually played well at home, but he also praised other teams, including Germany, Croatia and Belgium.

He said: “It will be interesting – the first phase will be a warm up.”

• Arsenal V Aston Villa, Sunday May 15, Emirates Stadium, 3pm