Jack Wilshere finally returns after 16 painful months in the shadows
Saturday 20 October 2012
Jack Wilshere will be in Arsenal's squad for today's game at Norwich City and could make his first-team return after 16 months out injured.
The midfielder has been out from ankle and knee injuries since the end of the 2010-11 season. He had played twice for Arsenal Under-21s earlier this month before completing 90 minutes of a friendly behind closed doors earlier this week.
Yesterday morning Arsène Wenger predicted a return in the Capital One Cup game at Reading in 10 days' time but a good training session made an impression and now the midfielder is set to be on the bench at Carrow Road this afternoon.
Wenger said yesterday that because Wilshere's injury was a stress fracture rather than from a bad tackle, he would have no psychological block or fear of contact. Comparing Wilshere to Eduardo, who broke his leg in a tackle in 2008 and was never same again, Wenger was confident about the youngster's return.
"If you protect the ball and somebody tackles you from behind and kills your knee, when you come back it will be difficult to protect the ball in the same position," Wenger said. "People may not notice but many times the player does not get in that position where he has been vulnerable.
"The second problem with Eduardo was that he has a restriction of his ankle movement, which is a massive problem for a football player. Jack has none of that – he has not been injured in a specific tackle."
Wilshere's last first-team game was England's 2-2 draw with Switzerland at Wembley on 4 June 2011. His last competitive game for Arsenal was the 2-2 draw at Fulham on 22 May 2011, though he did feature briefly in the Emirates Cup that July before being forced off with injury.
Wilshere is used to playing in Arsenal midfields with Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song but Wenger was confident he would quickly find understanding with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla. "Because good players like to play with each other," Wenger said.
Speaking before training, Wenger said that match fitness was the only area where the 20-year-old was lacking. "One is the apprehension to go into challenges when you have too many injuries," he explained. "On that front we are at 100 per cent. 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 – he is 80 per cent."
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove