Jack 'thought he'd never get back': Returning Wilshere frustrated by rate of recovery

By Neil Ashton

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After more than a year on the sidelines, Jack Wilshere's journey back to Arsenal's first team is almost complete.

Arsene Wenger admitted on Friday that there were times when the midfielder, who has not played a Barclays Premier League game for Arsenal since a 2-2 draw with Fulham on May 22 last year, feared he might not make it and was angry at the time it has taken to recover from operations to his ankle and knee.

But Wilshere's hard work and dedication is about to pay off and Wenger is convinced the talented 20-year-old will be razor sharp in the centre of midfield within weeks.

In the thick of it: Jack Wilshere (right) has returned to full Arsenal training after 14 months out

In the thick of it: Jack Wilshere (right) has returned to full Arsenal training after 14 months out

Getting stuck in: Wilshere (centre) will be eased back into Arsene Wenger's first team plans

Getting stuck in: Wilshere (centre) will be eased back into Arsene Wenger's first team plans

 

The Arsenal manager, preparing for Sunday's league clash at Manchester City, said: 'He has had ups and downs, maybe more downs over the past 14 months.

'We have to be cautious because he has been out for a long time and it takes a while to get back to match fitness.

'I have never had any doubts, but when you are so young, and to be out for that length of time, is a good test of mental strength. 'I didn't doubt he would be back, but you would have to ask him if it crossed his mind - I would say yes.

'I am certain he will be a better player. If you have this type of injury after the age of 25 it is different. 'After three months competition I am sure he will be back to his best. It takes time to find that little burst again.'

Wilshere will continue to work at Arsenal's training ground in the coming days and will play in a development match for the Under 21 team when he is fully fit.

That is for the future, but Wenger is still juggling off-field matters with his players ahead of Sunday 's match against champions City.

Although Wenger insisted on Friday that Theo Walcott's continued absence from the starting line-up has nothing to do with his aborted contract talks, the issue is no closer to being resolved.

The Arsenal winger, a regular last season, has been on the bench ever since he refused to sign an extended and improved offer to stay at the Emirates.

Happy lads? The Walcott (left) could leave team-mate Wilshere (centre) in January

Happy lads? The Walcott (left) could leave team-mate Wilshere (centre) in January

There is now a serious danger that he could be left behind by this improving Arsenal team and Wenger will consider selling the 23-year-old in January if they have not made progress.

The Arsenal manager added: 'I still hope he will sign, but the longer the situation lasts the more difficult it will be.'

'In terms of January, it will depend on the needs of the team and the club whether we sell him.

'We can afford to go to the end of the contract if needed.'

Walcott is expected to be on the bench again tomorrow as Arsenal aim to continue their sparkling early-season form against City after wins at Liverpool and Montpellier, along with last weekend's 6-1 victory over Southampton at the Emirates.

Main man: Arsenal will look to Lukas Podolski (right) to fire them to victory over Manchester City

Main man: Arsenal will look to Lukas Podolski (right) to fire them to victory over Manchester City

VIDEO: Wenger is preparing for the Manchester City game on Sunday 

 

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

glad he's back. good lad and great future

Click to rate     Rating   24

Listen its no surprise we have had a good start to the season,reason being theo Walcott has not started,we are weaker when he starts,in my opinion let him go like RVP ,they're only after as much as they can get. Wherever he goes he will not get as much patience as he got with AW Sell him and bring in someone else in jan end of

Click to rate     Rating   22

Theo seems to have stalled. I hate to say it, but more often than not, Arsene's young charges stall at some point, with Fabregas being one of the few to have pushed all the way through...or they feel they need to leave...(money?) Arsenal are a bot like West Ham, in that they can't keep their best players, and if they could....who knows? What's great about this current set-up, whether Theo leaves or not, is Stevie Bould. His influence is already seen in the way the midfield protects the back four, and they back-four row-Z the ball when needed. If that keeps on, yep, the Gooners are contenders. Theo, if he goes, will end up at United, who wanted him in the first place and seem to buy up attackers at a rate sillier than the Haremankini.

Click to rate     Rating   15

hargreaves ???

Click to rate     Rating   46

Take your time and no rush. Sure we will see a better and stronger Jack return to the pitch playing along side with Santi, Arteta and Diaby. Anyway, welcome back to the training ground.

Click to rate     Rating   40

I can't get enough of seeing him on the training pitch, it just brings a genuine smile to my face.

Click to rate     Rating   38

I think 75,000 a week is a reasonable offer,considering Walcot contibution,and develpoment in the past few years. I really would like him to stay,but if he does not sign before january,then sell him. Others will grab the chance,the Ox being one of them. No player is bigger than a club. Ali Milton Keynes England

Click to rate     Rating   46

Welcome back jack

Click to rate     Rating   58

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