Three-week absence for Wilshere
Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp has warned midfielder
Samba Diakite he will have to battle to earn a place in the
Diakite, who was an integral part of the Mali squad that
finished third at recent the Africa Cup of Nations, has not played
for Rangers since the 3-0 reverse to Liverpool in December.
Redknapp signed Jermaine Jenas on loan from Tottenham in January
to boost an already congested central midfield which includes
Esteban Granero, Stephane Mbia and Ji-Sung Park.
And the Rangers manager expects the Mali international to
respond positively to the challenge.
Redknapp said: “His form dipped a little bit before he went
away. The Liverpool game was a disappointment.
“And now there’s Jermaine Jenas, there’s Park, there’s Granero
and Mbia – we’ve got a group of them central midfielders.
“But Samba’s a good lad, and I like him and he’s training well.
I guess he could be in the team anytime.”
When United went 2-0 ahead after 11 minutes, the holders were
facing quarter-final elimination and many wondered if Benitez’s
spell in interim charge would come to a premature end as a result
of a heavy defeat to an old rival.
The influence of senior players has been a recurring theme in
the Chelsea squad in recent seasons as managers have continually
moved on, but it was Benitez who took the opportunity at the
interval to rectify the faults of the first half.
And the Blues responded with second-half goals from substitute
Eden Hazard and Ramires to force a replay.
“It wasn’t anything the players had to say,” said Mikel, who was
influential after coming off the bench.
“It was the manager. The manager just said we had to go back out
there and put things right.
“There was no anger, there was nothing like that. We just had a
normal chat. It was about finding the determination – and we found
it from nowhere.”
The replay date is still to be determined as the Blues face a
congested finish to the season.
The 21-year-old has endured an unfortunate run with injuries in
recent times, missing the whole of last season with ankle and knee
Wilshere has impressed since returning to first-team action in
October, but has now suffered an injury blow that will keep him out
for three weeks.
The midfielder is out of Wednesday’s Champion League clash at
Bayern Munich as a result of the ankle injury, which Wenger
revealed will also see him miss Arsenal’s Premier League clash with
Swansea and England’s World Cup qualifying double-header against
San Marino and Montenegro.
“Jack Wilshere is out,” Wenger said. “He has an inflamed ankle,
the other ankle to one he injured.
“He will be out for three weeks and will not be available for
Munich, Swansea and not for England.”
Wenger added: “Hopefully for the Premier League he will miss
only one game. After there is an international break. We can slowly
“I could see in the last couple of games he had started to dig
“He has played 30 games. For us it is not welcome but maybe for
him it is not bad that he has a little breather.
“It is more about prevention. The specialist decided he needed
it. He has some bone bruising.
“The last time it deteriorated into a stress fracture. That’s
what we don’t want to happen.
“We trust people who are specialists in this area. He was out
for 17 months and we had to deal with it, we must be able to deal
with it for two or three games.”
Wilshere’s injury absence is a major blow to hopes Arsenal have
on Wednesday of turning around their Champions League last-16 tie
with Bayern Munich.
The north Londoners head to Germany with the unenviable task of
turning around a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.
As well as missing Arsenal’s trip to Swansea in the Premier
League on Saturday, Wilshere will be unavailable for Roy Hodgson’s
The midfielder made his senior debut against Hungary in August
2010, but will not be adding to his seven England caps this month
due to his latest injury blow.