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Nov 20, 2008

Walcott injury could cost English FA £1.5m

Arsenal could receive up to £1.5million in compensation for Theo Walcott's injury while on England duty.

Walcott, who dislocated his shoulder in training on Tuesday, is unlikely to play for Arsenal for the next four months, according to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who confirmed that surgery had been carried out on the injury.

Wenger said the club have yet to decide whether to pursue compensation when under the FA's insurance deal, Arsenal could claim £50,000 for the first two weeks Walcott is absent, and £100,000 per week thereafter up to a maximum period of almost two years. If he is out for the predicted 16 weeks, that could mean £1.5million in compensation.

Wenger bemoaned the injury to one of his brightest stars but said he accepted its accidental nature. "I'm disappointed because he is an important part of the squad, but that could have happened in training here," he said

"It was an accident that could have happened anywhere. I do not blame the FA for that. It was accidental in training and I accept that. In a moment like that you do not think about compensation you think about how you can replace the player."

An FA spokesman said: "The FA is one of only a handful of national associations who voluntarily insure our players against injury while on international duty. Almost all foreign international players who play for English clubs will not have been insured in this way.

Wenger refused to blame the Football Association for the accident that led to Walcott undergoing surgery on his dislocated shoulder, and the Arsenal boss does not yet know whether the club will pursue compensation.

''You have to accept it as an accident which could have happened anywhere,'' Wenger said. ''I do not blame the FA for that.

''In a moment like that you do not think about money, you think about how you can replace the player, you think whether the squad can deal with that. I haven't thought at all about compensation.''

Walcott will be out for a minimum of three months but Wenger expects the winger to take longer to recover and regain match fitness.

Wenger refuses to pull his players out of international friendlies - but following a week of club-versus-country rows, he suggests that monitoring which injured players feature in the next week could be a sign of where loyalties lie.

''Many players have pulled out because this friendly is very badly positioned,'' he said. ''It would be very interesting for FIFA and UEFA to make a study of any players who have not played last night in any national team, and who will play on Saturday or on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Champions League.

''That for me would be the interesting thing to see. You will always get players who will not turn up for friendlies and have friendlies that will not be real games. Why? Players know they have important games with their club in the Champions League the week after.''

He added: ''Theoretically, if you do not play in the national team, you cannot play in the game after in the championship.''

Wenger also has Kolo Toure out of this weekend's clash against Manchester City after aggravating a calf injury, while Emmanuel Adebayor has only just returned from injury and will need to be assessed.

Walcott has now injured both of his shoulders and there are fears the problem, which he is reported to have been born with, is long-term.

Wenger, however, said: ''There is no concern about that. Once the surgery is done and it is solid, there is no concern at all for the future of Theo Walcott.''

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