Wilshere faces derby fitness test

Published Nov. 18, 2010 8:11 p.m. ET

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere faces a battle to be fit for Saturday's north London derby against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium.

The 18-year-old was forced to miss England's 2-1 defeat to France at Wembley, where he had been expected to make his first senior international start, because of a back problem.

Wilshere, who has impressed this season with 13 starts already, will be assessed on Friday.

"Jack has a test. He has a little strain of a little muscle in the back and is not in full training at the moment," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"We will know more on Friday about whether he is available for Saturday."

Arsenal had several players involved in the friendly at Wembley, including Theo Walcott, full-back Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri, while Gael Clichy was an unused substitute.

Most of Wenger's squad were away somewhere this week, with striker Robin van Persie getting a useful 45 minutes for Holland in the win over Turkey as he continued his recovery from an ankle injury.


However, both Andrey Arshavin and Tomas Rosicky are to be monitored upon their return to Arsenal's Hertfordshire training camp.

"We have to assess Arshavin, who has still to come back [from Russia]," Wenger said. "Rosicky is coming in later too. He had a tight hamstring, but should be okay.

"Van Persie had 45 minutes, which was agreed. He needed that. We had someone at the game and he looked quite sharp."

Manuel Almunia (elbow), Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) and Abou Diaby (ankle) remain out.

However, Almunia could be back in contention for next week's Champions League trip to Braga.

Wenger said: "He is back in full training. Almunia needs a few more days because he has been out for a long time, but he should be available for next week."