Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that midfielder Jack Wilshere is closing in on a comeback.
The 20-year-old is viewed as one of English football’s hottest properties but missed all last season with an ankle injury and has remained sidelined for the start of this one.
However, Wenger has reported some impressive work on the training ground and estimates Wilshere will be challenging for a starting berth within a month.
“Wilshere is looking very good in training,” Wenger said after yesterday’s 2-0 win at Liverpool.
“It depends what you call close, but I would say in a month he should be starting to play again.”
The news will be welcomed by Gunners supporters, who after losing star man Robin van Persie and Alex Song this summer, have reached the first international break in good heart.
Indeed, so strong does Wenger believe his squad to be that the Frenchman has warned Wilshere he cannot be guaranteed his place.
“Look at our midfield,” he said. “You have (Mikel) Arteta, (Santi) Cazorla, Wilshere, (Francis) Coquelin and (Tomas) Rosicky.
“That is quality and there is a fight for the places.”
There is little doubt Arsenal’s bench at Liverpool yesterday was far stronger than their hosts.
It included Theo Walcott, who will be part of the England squad for this week’s World Cup qualifier in Moldova and also has a future at Arsenal after holding talks with Wenger last week aimed at keeping him with the club.
“Walcott will play again,” he said. “We had some good players on the bench, plus others who were at home. They will play.”