Jack Wilshere ready to battle for place among Arsenal midfield
The England international was among the substitutes for last night's win over Napoli
Wednesday 02 October 2013
England midfielder Jack Wilshere believes the new competition for places at the heart of the Arsenal side following the club-record signing of Mesut Ozil can only make him a better player.
Wilshere started on the bench against Napoli on Tuesday night when Germany international Ozil scored his first Arsenal goal with a sublime side-foot finish and then set up Olivier Giroud to make it 2-0 inside 15 minutes and effectively kill off the Champions League Group F tie as Rafa Benitez's men never looked like mounting a recovery.
With Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla all still to come back into contention from injury, manager Arsene Wenger is certainly not short of choice in midfield, where Wales international Aaron Ramsey is relishing his own run in the side.
Wilshere, though, sees no reason to view competitions for places as anything other than a positive as the 21-year-old looks to press on in a campaign which he hopes will culminate in playing for England at the World Cup in Brazil.
"It was just a formation thing. I am feeling fine, (Tomas) Rosicky is coming back from injury and needed a game," he said of his place on the bench.
"I have played a lot of games recently, so I was just happy to get on and help at the end.
"We still have Santi Cazorla to come back, so we are going to have a great squad."
Wilshere continued: "When I (first) broke into the team, it was similar - there was (Cesc) Fabregas, (Abou) Diaby, (Alex) Song, players like that.
"It brings the best out of me and it will bring the best out of the other players as well.
"If we can keep everyone fit, we are going to be real contenders in all four competitions.
"We have not really had this over the last few years, all of this competition for places.
"We are all excited and we just have to keep it up now."
Arsenal have now won an astonishing 10 straight matches in all competitions since losing at home on the opening day to Aston Villa, and have moved to the top of the Barclays Premier League.
The Gunners next face a European double-header against Borussia Dortmund, last season's beaten Champions League finalists who defeated Marseille on Tuesday night to recover from their opening loss against Napoli.
Before that, Arsene Wenger's men will look to ride their momentum as they prepare for Sunday's Premier League trip to West Brom.
Ozil is in no doubt the squad has the quality needed to last the distance.
He said on Arsenal Player: "You can see in training how technically good this team is and that showed on the pitch too.
"The team supports me so well. We've got some great players in our ranks. They make life easier for me on the pitch and I am thankful to them for that.
"Our aim is to play attractive and successful football. We did that against Napoli.
"What is important for us is that we take the next step forward as a team. We want to keep on developing."
Arsenal's victory was, however, somewhat overshadowed following trouble caused by Napoli fans as they vandalised the Piebury Corner cafe on Holloway Road en route to the Emirates Stadium, with a man hospitalised following a cut to the head.
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