After 15 months out, Jack Wilshere has finally returned to Arsenal picture.
The England international was named among the substitutes for the Gunners’ match with Norwich City on Saturday, and although he didn’t get on the pitch, his comeback marks a huge boost for the club having been without Wilshere for so long.
As well as his return to first-team action, the 20-year-old has featured in three Under-21 matches for the North Londoners and put in a man-of-the-match performance in the 2-1 win over Everton on Monday where he provided the assist for the winning goal.
Wilshere has also appeared against West Bromwich Albion, Reading and Chelsea as he continues to battle to become match fit in time for the Gunners’ next match against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
Little did we know that after Jack hobbled off the pitch during the Emirates Cup match with the New York Red Bulls back in August 2011 that it would be such a long time before we were to see him again.
But having turned out for the reserves again on Monday, it looks as if Wilshere will be back in action against QPR this coming weekend if Arsene Wenger sticks by his word.
“We have to be conscious he has not played for 14 months. I would have brought him on if the game had allowed it on Saturday but it was too intense,” he told the club’s official website.
“There are two aspects. One is the apprehension to go into challenges when you have too many injuries. On that front he is at 100%. We even have to calm him down. He goes for every challenge and has no apprehension.
“Then you have the physical front – he is OK there. Then you have the match fitness – that is 80%. He needs one more game.”
As expected, Wenger is keen to lower everyone’s expectations of Wilshere after his injury nightmare, and rightly so.
He is still very young and has only had one full season with the Gunners so we can’t expect him to be a world beater again straightaway.
I expect it will be a month or so before we see Wilshere regain anything close to his brilliant form that he possessed before his injury hell so it would be foolish to expect too much too soon from the player.
But once he is back to 100% match fitness and has a few games under his belt, it’s going to be like Arsenal have signed a £30m player.
Let’s remember that Jack was outstanding in his breakout season for the Gunners and was arguably Arsenal’s player of the year for that term in a campaign that saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year and awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year.
He will be a colossal boost for both club and country, and he will add to the talented midfield group that Wenger already has at his disposal.
Below is a reminder of just how good Wilshere is.
Welcome back Jack!