Walcott hit by injury setback after surgery

Julian Harris
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ARSENAL winger Theo Walcott has been ruled out of a return to the first team this month after manager Arsene Wenger revealed that his recovery from abdominal surgery has not progressed as well as hoped.

The Gunners host Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League tomorrow night, the first of six games in a period of 20 days. Yet Wenger believes his squad is big enough to cope with the season’s demands, and insists he does not need to buy in January.

“He had a setback in training – he had to stop to jog again. He is at least two weeks away now,” Wenger said, ruling the 24-year-old out of games against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Liverpool.

“I think it’s important, when you know who is out injured now, that they will come back in November and the beginning of December. Then you have a really massive squad,” the manager added.

Wenger, who spent much of the summer’s transfer window trying to add another striker to his squad, also poured praise on his first-choice forward Olivier Giroud.

“I was not too worried when we didn’t bring in anybody because I thought he has a chance to develop.

“Now he enjoys to combine more. He has become a real team player.”

French international Giroud did not get on the score-sheet during Saturday’s 4-1 home win against Norwich, yet chipped in with two assists. The result kept the Gunners on top of the Premier League table, where star midfielder Aaron Ramsey – who scored his 10th goal of the season for Arsenal against Norwich – believes they can remain.

“We need to make sure we give everything in every game and not hold back,” Ramsey said. “We’ve started very strongly, we’re top of the league and that’s where we want to stay.”