England forward Danny Welbeck has undergone knee surgery and is expected to be out for nine months, Arsenal have announced.
The Premier League club announced the news on Wednesday afternoon, ruling Welbeck out of Euro 2016 and a large part of next season.
Arsenal said on their website: “Danny Welbeck has had surgery to his right knee. Specialists determined surgery was required after scans and tests revealed significant cartilage damage.
“Danny will miss the Euro 2016 Championship in the summer and his full recovery is expected to take approximately nine months.”
Welbeck suffered his injury blow in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Manchester City.
The news is a crushing blow for the 25-year-old, who only returned in mid-February from a 10-month lay-off due to an injury to his other knee.
Welbeck scored five times after returning for the Gunners and responded to the injury setback on Twitter, posting “I will be back stronger!” along with an emoji for strength.
The development is terrible timing for England as the forward would likely have played a key role in Roy Hodgson’s side at Euro 2016, having scored six goals in qualification.
The Three Lions boss planned to name his 23-man squad on Thursday, but pushed the announcement back to Monday in order to assess his players’ fitness after the final round of Premier League fixtures.
Welbeck joins team-mate at club and country Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines, while questions remain over Jack Wilshere having only made two substitute appearances this term.
Everton defender Phil Jagielka has been out with a hamstring injury in recent weeks and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson has just returned to outdoor training after a knee ligament injury sustained last month.
Arsenal midfielder Wilshere sent his commiserations to Welbeck, writing on Twitter: “Devastated for my friend @DannyWelbeck but you’ve proved before you can come back a better player! Stay strong mate”.
Another fellow England international and Gunner, Theo Walcott, added: “So gutted for you on your injury – You will come back stronger and all of us are thinking of you”.
Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny wrote: “Get well soon my friend @DannyWelbeck you are a strong man”.
England still have plenty of attacking options for the tournament in France, with Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge in the frame to travel as part of Hodgson’s squad.