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Arsenal forward Theo Walcott says he will not rush his return to action and admits he is likely to miss the start of next season as well.
Walcott has been on the sidelines for the last four months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the FA Cup third-round victory over Tottenham.
His loss was a hammer blow for the Gunners, who could have done with him in the side as their title challenge faltered in the second half of the season, while the injury was also a blow to England.
The World Cup in Brazil was immediately ruled out for Walcott, and although he is no doubt hugely disappointed, his says all his focus this summer will be on returning fitter and stronger.
Related: Walcott steps up recovery
Walcott is keen to get back but will not rush it, even if that means missing the start of next season as well.
“I am not pushing myself to be fit for the World Cup or anything like that. I want to be back quickly, of course, but safely, too.
“I want to try and be back for the early part of next season, that is the goal, so there will be a lot of hard work throughout the summer and during the World Cup.”
He added: “It has nearly been four months now and my recovery has gone on track so far.”
Having Walcott back will be a huge boost for Wenger, who cannot be blamed for wondering what might have been had he stayed fully fit.