Premier League

Three-week absence for Wilshere

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Tue, 12 Mar 2013 10:50:00

Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp has warned midfielder Samba Diakite he will have to battle to earn a place in the team.

Diakite, who was an integral part of the Mali squad that finished third at recent the Africa Cup of Nations, has not played for Rangers since the 3-0 reverse to Liverpool in December.

Redknapp signed Jermaine Jenas on loan from Tottenham in January to boost an already congested central midfield which includes Esteban Granero, Stephane Mbia and Ji-Sung Park.

And the Rangers manager expects the Mali international to respond positively to the challenge.

Redknapp said: "His form dipped a little bit before he went away. The Liverpool game was a disappointment.

"And now there's Jermaine Jenas, there's Park, there's Granero and Mbia - we've got a group of them central midfielders.

"But Samba's a good lad, and I like him and he's training well. I guess he could be in the team anytime."

When United went 2-0 ahead after 11 minutes, the holders were facing quarter-final elimination and many wondered if Benitez's spell in interim charge would come to a premature end as a result of a heavy defeat to an old rival.

The influence of senior players has been a recurring theme in the Chelsea squad in recent seasons as managers have continually moved on, but it was Benitez who took the opportunity at the interval to rectify the faults of the first half.

And the Blues responded with second-half goals from substitute Eden Hazard and Ramires to force a replay.

"It wasn't anything the players had to say," said Mikel, who was influential after coming off the bench.

"It was the manager. The manager just said we had to go back out there and put things right.

"There was no anger, there was nothing like that. We just had a normal chat. It was about finding the determination - and we found it from nowhere."

The replay date is still to be determined as the Blues face a congested finish to the season.

The 21-year-old has endured an unfortunate run with injuries in recent times, missing the whole of last season with ankle and knee problems.

Wilshere has impressed since returning to first-team action in October, but has now suffered an injury blow that will keep him out for three weeks.

The midfielder is out of Wednesday's Champion League clash at Bayern Munich as a result of the ankle injury, which Wenger revealed will also see him miss Arsenal's Premier League clash with Swansea and England's World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Montenegro.

"Jack Wilshere is out," Wenger said. "He has an inflamed ankle, the other ankle to one he injured.

"He will be out for three weeks and will not be available for Munich, Swansea and not for England."

Wenger added: "Hopefully for the Premier League he will miss only one game. After there is an international break. We can slowly prepare him.

"I could see in the last couple of games he had started to dig deep.

"He has played 30 games. For us it is not welcome but maybe for him it is not bad that he has a little breather.

"It is more about prevention. The specialist decided he needed it. He has some bone bruising.

"The last time it deteriorated into a stress fracture. That's what we don't want to happen.

"We trust people who are specialists in this area. He was out for 17 months and we had to deal with it, we must be able to deal with it for two or three games."

Wilshere's injury absence is a major blow to hopes Arsenal have on Wednesday of turning around their Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich.

The north Londoners head to Germany with the unenviable task of turning around a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

As well as missing Arsenal's trip to Swansea in the Premier League on Saturday, Wilshere will be unavailable for Roy Hodgson's England side.

The midfielder made his senior debut against Hungary in August 2010, but will not be adding to his seven England caps this month due to his latest injury blow.

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