Arsene: We'll Go Easy On Jack
Arsenal fans and players alike will have been boosted by the return to full training of Jack Wilshere on Thursday. Jack has been sidelined for 14 months with ankle and knee injuries, but looks close to ending his injury nightmare. His teammates have been particularly effusive, with Mikel Arteta saying his young charge will 'raise the level on the pitch and in training.'
However, the manager is preaching caution, as Wilshere's return will still be handled with kid gloves. 'We will see how he responds to the training now.
'We will have to be a bit patient, a bit cautious, because when a guy has been out for 14 months it takes a while to get back to match fitness.
'Jack is fit to practise and play, but to put high-level performances in takes time.
'He will need a few games in the reserves.'
'I cannot tell you anything about that (a comeback date). It will take a few weeks. We will see how well he responds in the first two games. He has to play games in the reserve [Under-21] team and see how well he comes out of that. I have to look at the schedule, I first want to give him 10 days training before he plays his first game.'
The U-21s have a game at West Brom at the Hawthorns which sits ten days away, but that may be considered too soon. Though the game is open to the public, it takes place at 2pm on a Monday and is likely to have less scrutiny attached to it. Failing that, the young Gunners take on Reading at Underhill on Monday, 8th October.
Wenger then offered, 'The biggest battle for him is just to enjoy every day now. For the rest I don't worry too much for him.'
Personally, I wouldn't expect too much from Jack in terms of the first team before Christmas and that's just assuming he doesn't suffer any setbacks. Nevertheless, it's good to see him back all the same.