Arsenal FC winger Theo Walcott looks set to miss their first three UEFA Champions League games after being ruled out for four to six weeks with an ankle injury.
Walcott, 21, was taken off on a stretcher early in England's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Switzerland on Tuesday after sustaining ankle ligament damage in the build up to Wayne Rooney's opening goal. Although England manager Fabio Capello initially predicted a two-week lay-off for Walcott, tests have revealed the injury is more serious.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: "When you see how it turned his ankle I thought it would be three or four days or it would be four to six weeks. Unfortunately it will be four to six weeks. We had some good news about the scan because at some stage we were scared it could be worse. But overall it is a question of patience and rehabilitation."
The news comes at an unfortunate time for both the player and Arsenal, who will also be without Netherlands striker Robin van Persie for a similar period. Walcott had started the season in superb fashion, scoring four goals in the first three Premier League matches, but he will now play no part in the Gunners' opening Group H fixtures at home to SC Braga next Wednesday and away to FK Partizan a fortnight later. He is also a doubt for the visit of FC Shakhtar Donetsk on 19 October.
As well as those European games, Walcott is also out of the crucial Premier League fixture with champions Chelsea FC next month and England's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on 10 October.
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