Premier League has suffered from absence of Jack Wilshere says QPR boss Mark Hughes

 

QPR manager Mark Hughes believes the Barclays Premier League has suffered due to Jack Wilshere's long injury lay-off.

Hughes takes his QPR side to Arsenal tomorrow still searching for their first league win of the campaign and Wilshere, who has not played for the Gunners in 15 months, is likely to be involved at some stage.

The 20-year-old England international was earning plaudits for his displays in the heart of the Arsenal midfield before suffering an ankle injury that has troubled him ever since.

Hughes feels Wilshere is one of the shining lights of the English game but is hoping he does not have an immediate impact on his return.

"He is an outstanding young player, the league has been a lesser league really because when you take a young player of his ability out for so long then everyone misses watching his talents," he said.

"Obviously from my own selfish point of view as an opposition manager I hope he would have been one week away from returning.

"He played in midweek with a view to being involved in our game so we will see whether or not he makes an appearance.

"I think everybody is pleased, he is a young man who seemed to have the world at his feet and he has had a real setback with the injury and the amount of time he has been out. We wish him well but not too many good wishes if he plays at the weekend."

Arsenal go into the fixture on the back of two straight defeats but Arsene Wenger's side will still be the firm favourites against a QPR side who are yet to record an away league victory during Hughes' tenure.

The Welshman acknowledged that Arsenal have not had the best of weeks but is not expecting any favours on Saturday.

"They're a very good team, and they've had a couple of results that have knocked them back somewhat," he said.

"But it's their home game, and you'd expect them to come out and for their fans' benefit, put in a good performance because they've stepped away from their high standards in the last couple of games.

"We go there with the belief we can compete against any team in the Premier League. We've drawn with Chelsea, drawn with Everton and run Tottenham very close. We acquitted ourselves well for long periods against Manchester City.

"So we know we can go to the top sides and make a game of a difficult fixture, and we'll try and cause an upset, because I'm sure there aren't that many people expecting us to get a positive result. We'll go there with real belief."

Hughes has had his fair share of run-ins with opposing bosses during his time in management but the former Manchester City boss is looking forward to facing a man he considers 'an outstanding manager'.

"I don't think I've had any disagreements (with Wenger)," he said. "I have maybe questioned how long he has thrown the ball back into play sometimes.

"I have the utmost respect for Arsene Wenger, he is a fantastic manager. Every time you go up against a top manager in the Premier League it is a huge test so I'm looking forward to the challenge of going up against one of the outstanding managers of our time."

Rs defender Ryan Nelsen is expecting to be in for a tough afternoon at the Emirates but reckons the players will take the belief from their 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea into the game.

"Whatever Arsenal side you come up against, what you know about them is that they'll look to play in a certain way," he told qpr.co.uk.

"We'll need to be at our best and that's what we plan to be. When you play the bigger teams and they get it right you can be in a whole lot of hurt if eight or nine of them play to their full potential, but on the flip side, that can be reversed as well. If they're off their game, we can cause them problems.

"Chelsea are a fine example. They have only dropped points so far this season against us, and we're unfortunately bottom of the league at the moment. That's the kind of league this is. It's a very fine line."

PA

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