Arsene Wenger Confirms Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere Fitness Boost for Arsenal

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal looks on as team mate Jack Wilshere is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 01, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday that England duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott will be fit for Arsenal's weekend trip to Sunderland.

Both players had been doubts for the Premier League fixture, but Wenger said he expected the duo to feature at the Stadium of Light, per Arsenal's official Twitter account:

There was some bad news for the Gunners, however, with Wenger announcing that Tomas Rosicky will not travel with the squad after returning from international duty with an injury.

Wilshere and Walcott were both replaced during England’s World Cup qualifying draw in Ukraine, the latter after a cynical challenge from Oleksandr Kucher.

The defender raked his studs down the ankle of Walcott during the second half of the 0-0 stalemate and, even though the Arsenal speedster played on for 25 minutes, he eventually limped down the tunnel.

Concern over Wilshere centred upon his general fitness after two international games in five days, per Jim van Wijk of The Independent. He delivered a tired and sloppy display against Ukraine, who targeted him with strong challenges throughout.

Both players will be at the disposal of Wenger, though, as Arsenal look for a third straight league win following their 1-0 triumph over Tottenham.

Rosicky is unavailable due to a thigh problem aggravated in Czech Republic’s clash with Italy, so Mesut Ozil will likely start on debut, as predicted by Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

Wenger elaborated on his new signing on Thursday, revealing he was always confident he could bring the Real Madrid man to Emirates Stadium.

With Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini all fit, the Arsenal boss must decide how best to use Ozil among his three central midfielders.

The option is available to play Ozil wide, but with Walcott and Santi Cazorla both fit—and Olivier Giroud in form up front, it is likely one of the three midfielders will make way.