Ever since his debut in 2008, Jack Wilshere has commanded real affection among Arsenal fans desperate to see him fulfil his vast potential.


A series of injury setbacks over the years have slowed his progress, but Arsene Wenger still believes that the midfielder will come good – if he stays fit.

Speaking ahead of our Europa League clash against Cologne, the Arsenal manager had this to say about Wilshere:

on how Jack has looked in training…

He is very hungry and sharp. He is not completely at his best, but he is getting there every week. He enjoys being back and competing for his place and what I see in training is positive.

on it being a World Cup year…

I think he has been so much under pressure to do that. At the moment, one of the positive things is that he is not under that kind of pressure.

on whether he can get back to his best…

Yes, if he is injury-free he will come back.

on whether they spoke much over the summer…

Not really, because I was away a lot in Australia and China while he was at home. He started to do his rehab and since I came back, I have observed him more. I know Jack well enough. He analyses every training session, what he has done well. He has a football brain so I don’t need to tell him too much on that score. But I speak to him about how I see his evolution.

Close Up: Wilshere

on whether he spoke to him after his red card for the U-23s…

I didn’t talk to him at all after that because I was not at the game and I could understand his reaction. He had been out so many times after suffering bad tackles and had just come back from a fracture – sometimes you have to be comprehensive as well.

on the psychological impact it has had…

We are all different. Some just come back like nothing happened to them, some are traumatised for their whole life. It is like you have a car accident, some don’t want to drive any more and some take the car and go on again. It is very different and depends on the personality of people.

on the fact he has had a series of injuries…

The disadvantage is of course that he was out of the game for a long time but there are advantages as well. He knows his body well, he has become very professional and learnt how much time it takes to get back to his best so he is more patient.

on whether he needs to evolve…

His game, you have certainly seen the video of him when we played against Barcelona, his game is about that. He needs a little burst to get away from people because he can turn the game forward and if you can turn the game forward you need your legs to get you out of pressure and that will come back – it is coming back in training as well.