Eddie Howe says Jack Wilshere can take a lot of positives from his season on loan at Bournemouth even though he’s not started a game since late February and missed out on a call-up to the last England squad.
The Cherries boss also reaffirmed his desire to sign the England international on a permanent basis having been impressed with the 25-year-old’s attitude this campaign. Wilshere has a contract at the Emirates until July 2018 and negotiations over an extension are thought to be on hold until the summer.
Speaking after Bournemouth’s 0-0 draw with Swansea, Howe noted: “I’ve always said, ‘We love Jack, we would love to sign him’. But that decision will rest with Arsenal, with Jack, with other people: it’s out of our hands. And Jack may well see his future elsewhere.
“He did say as soon as he came to us that he’d totally commit to us for the season, and then in the summer sort out of his future.
“Jack obviously wouldn’t want to start from the bench, he’d want to be playing, but since the Manchester United game – he felt his ankle against Manchester City – the team’s done very well, and it’s very difficult to take either centre-forward out.
“What he has done when he’s come on is showed he’s got a great attitude; he’s trained so well, and that’s reflected when he’s come on the pitch, he’s been outstanding. He really was the defining factor in us gaining total control (against Southampton).
“We’ve got real competition in that position. It’s probably the area of the team where I’ve got an array of options.
“You’ve seen Harry Arter come off the bench: he’s been outstanding for us this season. You’ve got Jack; Dan Gosling’s done very well for us in recent weeks
“(Wilshere’s) been an outstanding professional. And I can’t speak highly enough of him, as a player and as a person. If you look at Jack’s season overall, there’s massive, massive positives.
“He’s played so many games, a lot of 90 minutes: this is just a little spell where he’s been out of the team but he’s still coming on to great effect. Overall he’s stayed fit: it has to be a huge positive for him, this season.”
Andrew Surman’s knee injury should see Wilshere return to Bournemouth’s starting lineup on Wednesday when they face Liverpool at Anfield.