Jack Wilshere has made his long awaited return to the playing field after 14 months on the sideline, as he completed just over an hour for the Gunners U21 side on Monday night.
The news will be welcomed by Gooners alike with Abou Diaby ruled out for at least three weeks, with Arsene Wenger admitting it was a risk to play the Frenchman with limited, fully fit midfield options available.
The good news first though, Wilshere and Frimpong played 63 and 70 minutes respectively in the Arsenal U21 sides 1-0 loss to West Brom, but encouraging displays from the talented duo was enough to make the match a success.
Wilshere has not featured for the Gunners first team since August 2011, when he picked up a stress fracture during a pre-season friendly against the New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup, and after a series of setbacks he is finally close to a full return to the first team fold.
But Arsene Wenger will be cautious with his prodigy and has ruled him out of the upcoming England fixtures, Wenger said prior to the match:
Jack will play on Monday for the [Under-21s].
He will play an hour. We have to be patient. I think that [the England games] will be too early for him.
It is fantastic for him. When you are at that age and are out for such a long time, it is absolutely massive.
Wilshere’s return to the U21’s has given Wenger’s midfield a big boost with Diaby set to be absent for at least three weeks, and the French manager admitted it was a gamble to play the injury prone midfielder against Chelsea.
Wenger also said:
Diaby’s injury record is not good. I was concerned about him of course. It was a gamble, but I was calculating as well that Wilshere was coming back, Francis Coquelin is here but was sick and Emmanuel Frimpong is back.
Tomas Rosicky is coming back so we have many midfield players. We don’t have many physical players but Mikel Arteta has shown he can be a great defensive midfield player.
He was outstanding in that area against Chelsea. We’ll see overall if it was a good or bad decision at the end of the season.
Wenger’s risk could prove detrimental with the Gunners set to face Olympiacos in midweek then West Ham on Saturday. Coquelin will most likely get the nod for the Olympiacos match with Ramsey coming in at the weekend. Fingers crossed nobody else suffers an injury in the next couple of matches until Wilshere and Frimpong are ready to play for the first team again.
Have any thoughts on the Wilshere or Diaby news? Feel free to comment below or in allArsenal’s forum under the midfielder’s threads.