Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that Theo Walcott’s knee surgery went well, but knocked back the possibility of the England international recovering in time to play in the World Cup.
Walcott, 24, was ruled out for six months after injuring his knee during the Gunners’ FA Cup third-round win against Tottenham earlier this month.
While he will not play again this season, there was talk that the winger could potentially return for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
However, Wenger has dismissed the idea after confirming that Walcott’s recent operation on his knee was a success.
“It went very well,” he told Arsenal’s official website. “The damage was real in the knee so he will have to take the needed time, so let’s not be hopeful that he will go to the World Cup -- that is not possible. But overall his long-term future is very positive. It's about being fit for next season now."
Premier League leaders Arsenal take on struggling Fulham on Saturday as they look to consolidate their place at the top of the table.
However, the Gunners have been hit by the blow that Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky could miss the Emirates Stadium clash after they were both forced off with injuries in the win at Aston Villa on Monday.
“Monreal looks a doubt for Saturday, a big doubt, because he twisted his foot on the kick. It is not the bruise, he turned and twisted the ligament,” Wenger said. “Rosicky had surgery with a general anaesthetic for a broken nose in two places. With a mask he may be available, but we have to monitor it closely.”
Wenger also had updates on a number of his other players currently working their way back to full fitness.
“[Aaron] Ramsey and [Mikel] Arteta are both out for this game. [Thomas] Vermaelen too," he said. "I personally believe the three will miss the Coventry game [in the FA Cup next week] as well and will be available after that. [Nicklas Bendtner] has a little chance to make Coventry. But in all probability it will be after that.”