Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Jack Wilshere plays central role for Arsenal under-21s in latest step on comeback trail

NORWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal looks on from the bench prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on October 20, 2012 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Jack Wilshere's return to competitive action took another step today when the midfielder featured in a 2-1 victory over Everton for the Arsenal under-21s side.

The England midfielder played 90 minutes at Finch Farm and had a hand in both the away team's goals as Arsenal came from behind.

For Arsenal's first goal he played in team-mate Jernade Meade who then rolled it back for Thomas Eisfeld to score at the near post.

The 20-year-old then claimed an assist as he played in Eisfeld for his second of the match having cut in from the right.

The impressive performance follows the midfielder's appearance on the bench during Arsenal's weekend defeat to Norwich. Wilshere was not called upon as manager Arsene Wenger continues to protect the player after such a long time out of action.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Wenger said Wilshere was mentally ready to return, although physically he is not quite there.

"There are two aspects," said Wenger. "One is the apprehension to go into challenges when you have too many injuries, on that front we are at 100 per cent. We even have to calm him down. He goes for every challenge and has no apprehension.

"Then you have the physical front - he is okay there, then you have the match fitness which is 80 per cent."

Arsenal play FA Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday before QPR in the Premier League on Saturday. Wilshere could be involved in either although he is most likely to return to competitive action after 16 months out of the first team when Arsenal take on Reading in the Capital One Cup next week.

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