Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has warned that he could miss the start of next season despite his recovery from a knee injury going to schedule.
England international Walcott, 25, was ruled out of the rest of the current campaign -- and the World Cup -- when he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Arsenal's FA Cup third round win over Tottenham in January.
Scans quickly revealed that the injury was worse than had been feared, and Walcott said he would not try to force the pace of his recovery.
And he told Arsenal's official matchday magazine: "I want to be back quickly, of course -- but safely, too. I want to try and be back for the early part of next season. That is the goal, so there will be a lot of hard work throughout the summer and during the World Cup.
"It has nearly been four months now, and my recovery has been on track so far. At the moment I'm working on muscle strength and building muscle in my quad.
"I don't see any point in being down in the dumps about the injury because it has already happened -- and there are a lot of people with worse problems in the world."
Walcott said he would "just get on with my work," adding: "I see the consultant soon, and hopefully he will give me the thumbs up to push on. I would love to be running in a few weeks."
Arsenal are on the brink of a return to Champions League football after beating Newcastle 3-0 to move four points clear of Everton in the battle for fourth place with two games remaining, but Walcott would be likely to miss the playoff stages if the Gunners qualify.