Arsene Wenger fears Jack Wilshere will never realise his full potential after his latest injury setback.
The midfielder, while playing for loan club Bournemouth, will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken leg in the clash against Tottenham last weekend.
It is the latest in a long list of injuries Wilshere has endured during his career.
Jack Wilshere suffered his latest setback against Tottenham in the league last weekend
And Wenger admits he is concerned the 25-year-old’s injury record will prevent him from reaching the level expected when he first broke onto the scene as a teenager.
‘It is sad because Jack is a great football player with a great football brain,’ said Wenger.
‘You’re always sad when a guy of that quality is stopped by problems.
‘His career has been stopped by many injuries. Today at the top level, the most important thing is the consistency of the presence.
‘When a player’s been out for a while, the game is of such an intensity that it always takes you a while to get your confidence back.
‘A great career doesn’t suffer from stop and go, you have to be consistently present.
Arsene Wenger says it’s ‘sad because Jack is a great football player with a great football brain’
‘When you look at all the players who are at the top level in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo, these guys play 50 or 60 games a year. They have the luck of not being stopped by injuries.’
It is understood Wilshere, who will not require surgery, will return to Arsenal’s training ground after the end of the season to begin his rehabilitation programme.
Though Wenger revealed the midfielder is due back at the club’s Hertfordshire HQ next month, when the pair are set to hold face-to-face talks over his future, Arsenal want Wilshere to fully recuperate before returning.
Arsenal want to extend Wilshere’s current deal, which expires at the end of next season, but it remains to be seen whether the Gunners academy graduate is prepared to sign a new contract.
Arsenal are currently preparing for their FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City
Wilshere is unlikely to be a regular for Arsenal next season, something the England star may find a problem as he looks to get his career back on track.
Meanwhile, Wenger insists the outcome of this season’s FA