AW refuses to play blame game
The 19-year-old has not yet played a competitive match for the Gunners this season and on Tuesday underwent ankle surgery, which is expected to rule him out of contention until late February at the earliest. It is a much more serious prognosis than originally suggested when Wilshere - who played well over half a century of matches for club and country last term - suffered the problem in a pre-season friendly against the New York Red Bulls at the Emirates Stadium. Wenger, however, rejected suggestions this setback was the direct result of any one factor. "You can blame yourself if you think people warned you be careful because he has a problem, but he had no problem," the Arsenal manager told reporters ahead of tonight's Champions League clash against Olympiacos at Emirates Stadium. "If you say to a player who is 18, who has no problem 'you don't play', he doesn't understand. "It is difficult, especially at the end of the season we couldn't rest him at all because [Cesc] Fabregas was always injured and therefore it was more difficult to rest Jack. "Maybe we played him too much, I don't know. His injury isn't necessarily linked with that." Wilshere first felt the injury during the England international against Switzerland at Wembley on June 4. Wenger, though, insists all appeared well as Arsenal prepared for the new campaign with a pre-season tour of Asia. He said: "We made a scan before we left and it was all right. This crack in the bone became worse and worse. "People say to me it didn't heal because there is no blood supply, so it doesn't glue together any more. "When you see the scan it looks like a little hole in the bone. We needed to screw that together because it would not heal. "When he was in the boot it did not get better, it can be even worse." Wenger added: "What they found was a very clean ankle and they came out very positive. "Sometimes you are scared the player goes in and they say 'look, it was worse than what we expected', or they say 'it was better'. "They said it was better than what they expected it to be." Arsenal eased the pressure with their Premier League victory over 10-man Bolton on Saturday after what has been one of the most testing spells of Wenger's 15-year tenure. In Europe, though, the Gunners have produced the goods, securing a place in the group stages with an impressive two-legged win over Serie A pacesetters Udinese and then coming away from Dortmund with a 1-1 draw after a late goal salvaged a share of the spoils for the hosts. "We paid a heavy price in the Premier League for the quality of our performances in the Champions League," said Wenger, who looks set to push Alex Song back into defence to cover for injuries. "We had the bad luck to play twice away after the Champions League, and it's difficult for everybody."