Jack Wilshere returns at last but Arsene Wenger issues warning


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The Independent Football

Jack Wilshere, the Arsenal and England midfielder, has returned to full training for the first time in over a year. Wilshere missed the entire 2011-12 Premier League season after injuring himself in a pre-season match against New York Red Bulls in July last year.

Arsène Wenger, the manager, is cautious about when Wilshere is likely to feature in a match, but said: "We are so pleased that Jack is back in full training. It's been 14 months and that's a long time for someone at his age. It's an eternity. But it's great news.

"We have to give him a few training sessions to see how he copes and responds to it. That's the delicate, sensitive stage – to choose when to bring him in and out. We'll have to handle that day by day."

Emmanuel Frimpong also trained with the first-team squad yesterday, in his first full session since injuring his cruciate ligament last February, when he was on loan at Wolves.

Arsenal's new striker Lukas Podolski admits he would have preferred to have begun his time at the club alongside Robin van Persie.

When Podolski agreed to sign for Arsenal from Cologne in March, Van Persie was still at the club. But the Dutchman then left for Manchester United the day before the start of the Premier League season and now Podolski can only wonder what might have been.

The German international said: "For me it [would have been] better if he stayed – he is a world-class player and I hoped that he stayed and we played together. But he made a decision and it is the team of Arsenal that is important."

Podolski is set to start at Manchester City on Sunday after his stellar showing against Montpellier in the Champions League on Tuesday, when he scored his third goal of the season. His first was also Arsenal's first goal of the Premier League campaign, after two goalless draws.

He says Arsenal's style of play suits him, but he is reluctant to talk up their chances of silverware this season. "The team and Arsène make it easy," Podolski said. "Last week we played very well. This is the style of football that I like – we play with one or two touches. We play straight to the front.

"But we have only played four or five matches and we are not ready to speak about the title or the Champions League. We must carry on playing like the last few matches and we must keep on fighting."

Even though he refuses to speculate over Arsenal's fortunes this season, he is unafraid of speaking about his long-term future at the club. He has evidence of his loyalty to his former club, Cologne, in the shape of a tattoo on his right biceps.

And when asked whether the Arsenal crest could adorn his other arm in the future, he said: "Maybe in a few years. Maybe I will do the same with Arsenal because I like this club. It is a big club and maybe we can do a tattoo."