Jack Wilshere finally returns after 16 painful months in the shadows

 

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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing