Jack Wilshere set to play match for Arsenal on Monday as full return moves closer
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will play for the first time since July 2011 when he features for the London club's under-21 side on Monday.
It will be the latest step in the 20-year-old's recovery process as he moves closer to a return to the Gunners' first team.
Speaking today ahead of Arsenal's Premier League clash with Chelsea on Sunday, manager Arsene Wenger expressed the importance, and his delight at the return of Wilshere.
"It's massive for him to come back," he said. "When you are out for so long, it's massive to take. It is fantastic for him."
Wilshere has not played a competitive game for 14 months after suffering a serious ankle injury that has been dogged by setbacks. Yet Wenger has said he always had confidence Wilshere would return.
"I always thought he would come back. Wilshere has had ups and downs. He was focused, especially in the last three months," said Wenger.
Wilshere began training again with the first team last week and it is expected he will return to action with the senior side at some point next month, although Wenger continues to be protective, and insists the return of his midfielder will not be rushed.
"We have to be a bit cautious. We need to manage him well. He needs a few games in the reserves."
That also applies to a return to the England set-up, with Wenger saying the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland "will be too early for him".
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food