Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has tipped Jack Wilshere to have a big season at Arsenal now that he’s finally overcome the ankle problem which has hampered him for two years.
Having not completed a full pre-season schedule since 2010, Wilshere, who made a long awaited first team comeback last term only to require a further minor procedure six weeks ago, is set to be a major attraction on the club’s imminent tour of the Far East.
Talking to the Evening Standard on Tuesday at the launch of Arsenal’s new away kit, Chamberlain underlined the boost a fully fit Jack will bring to the squad.
“Jack is back in training and looking really good,” he said. “He is obviously coming away with us on tour and the fact he is looking so strong is good news for Arsenal and England.
“Hopefully, he can stay fit because he is an amazing player and can add a lot to our team. Is he the best kind of signing we can make? Yes.
“Everyone is important. Whenever you lose someone it dents the team in some way. If we can keep him fit, it will give us a lot more options and enhances competition for places.”
Paying tribute to his Arsenal and England teammate’s mental strength, the Ox also highlighted not just the player’s obvious qualities as a player but also the way he’s matured during his stint on the sidelines.
“One thing I have realised as he’s gone through this, he is a much stronger character on and off the pitch. He has learned from it and has become a better man for it. He does a lot of stuff now to prevent these things from happening.
“He works really hard and is the first one in and last one out of training. To come through something like that, having not been able to play for 17 months and always stay positive, is really mentally challenging but he did that really well. Last season he had a good stint in the team and now he is pushing on again.”
After a hectic summer schedule there’s a good chance Santi Cazorla will be eased into proceedings come the start of the season meaning it’s imperative that Wilshere hits the ground running when Villa visit on 17 August.
It’ll no doubt be a huge confidence boost to the young man if he can get through the coming weeks without any niggles. We can only watch on and hope that proves to be the case.