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May 8, 2014

Wenger: Wilshere will be ready for WC

LONDON -- Jack Wilshere will return to the Arsenal squad for Sunday's Premier League trip to Norwich, but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has admitted he can't guarantee the midfielder game time before the end of the domestic season.

Wilshere had an issue with his ankle after the match against Denmark.
Wilshere had an issue with his ankle after the match against Denmark.

Wilshere is edging back to fitness as he recovers from the broken foot he suffered playing for England in the first week of March, with his place in England's World Cup plans in doubt due to his lack of match fitness.

While Wenger could not offer any conclusive answers to questions about his fitness heading into Arsenal's last league game of the season, he insisted that his 22-year-old midfielder will be available for selection when England boss Roy Hodgson names his World Cup squad next Monday.

"I don't know how much [game time he will get]," said Wenger, who may be reluctant to risk Wilshere in the FA Cup final against Hull the following weekend. "He will be ready for the World Cup, but I don't want to make an individual case of anybody, it is important for us that our team are prepared well."

Meanwhile, Wenger has hinted that he will not invest heavily in the transfer market this summer, as he remains convinced that the squad he has assembled does not need major surgery to challenge for Premier League and Champions League success next season.

"We have to continue to develop as a team," he stated. "We have bridged a gap [from last season] and we want to be better next season. How do we achieve that? We have hard work next season to achieve that.

"My team has shown a remarkable mental attitude in their consistency. I'm proud of the way we have responded. We are looking at aspect where we can improve internally I am convinced we can do it."

When asked whether he believed a massive injection of transfer funds would be required to transform Arsenal from top four regulars into title contenders, he offered this response: "It depends what you call massive. Seven points is nothing, it's two games.

"If you look at it, every team at the top four is frustrated. You think we could have got this point here, this point there, we would win the league. You look at Chelsea and Liverpool they could say the same. Wenger went on to suggest transfer activity for all the top clubs would be disrupted by this summer's World Cup, as he again insisted he was looking forward to next season despite not putting pen to paper on the new contract he has been offered by Arsenal.

"In my experience, in World Cup year, it is [transfers] not done early" he added. "At the moment, you can do nothing. Today is May 8 and on June 12 is the first World Cup game. It is one month away from the start of the World Cup. It is unbelievable.

"The Champions League final is two weeks before the World Cup, so there is no time before the end of the season and the start of the World Cup. Nobody will do anything before the World Cup starts."

Kieran Gibbs is also in contention to return to the Arsenal line-up at Norwich, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still some way from being fit to return to action.

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