Destined for greater glory

The England international spent over a year on the sidelines due to ankle and knee injuries before making his long-awaited return this season. Jack Wilshere, 21, was eased back into action by Gunners boss Wenger and the all-action central midfielder is again showing why he is so highly regarded.

Arsene Wenger has no doubt that Jack Wilshere will realise his potential as the Arsenal midfielder continues to impress following his return from a long injury lay-off.

The England international spent over a year on the sidelines due to ankle and knee injuries before making his long-awaited return this season. Wilshere, 21, was eased back into action by Gunners boss Wenger and the all-action central midfielder is again showing why he is so highly regarded.

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen labelled Wilshere “world class” following his performance in the 2-0 English Premier League defeat to Manchester City. And Wenger believes the sky is the limit for the Gunners academy graduate.

The Frenchman told Arsenal Player: “Let’s not set any limitations. What is important is the day he will have made his career and thinks, ‘I have been as good as I could have hoped to be.’

“I have managed many great players in my life; the one common thing in their career is that they always wanted to improve. Every day they had 100% focus, they had that basic attitude right.”

Despite only turning 21 on New Year’s Day, Wilshere is already very much a key player for Arsenal and England manager Roy Hodgson will also be hoping the midfielder can play a big part in the Three Lions’ bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

But Wenger has warned that too much expectation should not be placed on youngsters such as Wilshere. “You want to give time to a player of such a young age as well. I believe the most important thing is that he has talent and loves football. As long as he loves football, he will improve,” said Wenger. “Let’s keep that kind of important ingredient in the development of a player right, and not make them feel that they have nothing to grow for.”

Wenger added: “In England the way to protect the players had been to just let them develop naturally and not put too much pressure on them. But now, the expectation level is so high individually on players that they are not in a normal development, sometimes there is so much focus on them that I feel it is a handicap.” Arsenal are chasing a top-four finish in the EPL, while they are also still in the UEFA Champions League. Wenger knows there will come a time when Wilshere needs a rest, but not for the foreseeable future.

He said: “At the moment I don't think he is overloaded because he just came back very recently, and you get the feeling he gets stronger. We have a good approach taking the physical analysis and statistical analysis between what the player feels and what the medical department thinks, and you have to come to a conclusion on that.

“At the moment, all these three are positives, so I don’t think I will rest him immediately, but it will happen.”

Wilshere stood out in a disappointing Arsenal display against champions City and Wenger will be hoping he can maintain that level of performance as the Gunners strive for consistency.

The England man has shown great strength of character to come back from a long injury lay-off which came at a time when he had emerged as one of the best midfielders in the EPL. And if he can continue to develop and stay fully fit, then Wilshere will be starring for club and country for many years to come.

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