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England waiting on Wilshere

An England insider has told ESPNsoccernet that manager Fabio Capello faces an anxious wait over Jack Wilshere's long-term ankle injury.

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Wilshere, 19, is currently sidelined with the problem having undergone surgery last month, with the Arsenal midfielder expected to be out for around four to five months.

After making his first-team breakthrough at Emirates Stadium last season, making 49 appearances in all competitions, Wilshere has emerged as a key performer for England. The youngster is seen as integral to the country's present and future.

However, ahead of Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro where a point will be enough to book England's place at the finals, there is hope that Wilshere will return to his all-action best ahead of next summer's tournament.

An England insider told ESPNsoccernet: "Fabio and the England camp can only concern themselves with the players they have for this tie on Friday. Jack Wilshere, for example, is out for four to five months, and much will depend on his recovery from an ankle operation, how the dynamics of his recovery will affect his form, the way he runs, it is a difficult injury and a long way off."

With proposed friendlies against Spain and Netherlands on the horizon, it is expected Capello will blood further promising talent, and one of those youngsters that could be given a chance is Everton's Jack Rodwell, who has recaptured form after a bright start to his career had faltered.

The England insider added: "Two years ago everybody was talking about him, but he never delivered. He nearly delivered, but didn't quite make it. Now, in the last two or three weeks, it looks as though he is delivering, and he is another one of the young players we shall be looking at."

Another Englishman demonstrating potential is Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18, who recently scored in the Champions League to help the Gunners to a 2-1 win over Olympiakos, but the former Southampton midfielder will need regular playing time before breaking into the senior England fold.

The source said: "It's too soon to be talking about this young player, certainly in terms of an England call-up. He is not even playing Premier League football. He has had one game, a very good game, in the Champions League, and he looked quite good.

"But there are many things to come first. He must play for Arsenal on a regular basis, and when he does play, play the way he did against Olympiakos."

Chelsea's in-form young striker Daniel Sturridge might have missed out for this game, but only just, and he is "in the frame" for the two friendlies.

The source added: "He deserves to be noticed, and deserves to have been called up, so he only just missed out. He needs to carry on playing well and his chance will cone.

"We had this one game in mind, and we were not thinking any further, but this player is making good progress and good enough to be tested in one of the friendlies."

• Harry Harris' new book, 19: The Remarkable Story of United's League Championship Record, is available now.


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