Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Wilshere looking ahead after return

Jack Wilshere was happy to have come through his 60 minutes of playing time

Jack Wilshere admits there were times during his 14 months on the treatment table he did not want to even think about football, but now hopes Arsenal can "push on" after getting back to winning ways against QPR.

Wilshere last played a competitive first-team game for the Gunners in May 2011 and was forced to sit out the whole of last season because of niggling ankle and knee problems, which also dashed any hopes of featuring for England at Euro 2012 or representing Team GB at the London Olympics.

"There are some days when you came into the physio room and the lads were going out, you just do not want to be there because after 10 or 11 months it gets to you," Wilshere said. "I am happy to be back now, so hopefully we can push on."

The 20-year-old came through more than an hour of the battling 1-0 win over QPR, which was secured by a late goal from Mikel Arteta after full-back Stephane Mbia had been shown a straight red card for kicking out at Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Wilshere was relieved to be finally playing again, having only been told he would start by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Saturday morning. Wilshere accepts it will take a while for him to be firing on all cylinders, and could now be rested for next week's Capital One Cup tie at Reading with Arsenal away to Manchester United on Saturday.

"This is my first long-term injury, so I am not really used to it. After 60 minutes, my legs were going, so maybe next time after 70 or 80 then so on," he added on BBC Sport.

Despite Arsenal's goal, QPR had time to mount a couple of counter-attacks, with substitute Jamie Mackie waltzing his way through the Arsenal defence only to see his shot blocked at the near post by keeper Vito Mannone.

Wenger felt his side's desperation to secure a victory following the disappointments of defeat at Norwich and Schalke - which led to a heated atmosphere at the annual general meeting on Thursday - was behind their late lapse in concentration.

"It was psychological. You could see that as soon as we scored we just wanted to protect the result and we were 11 against 10," he said.

"If the team is full of confidence maybe we give a chance away, but we would continue to flow forward. However, here we just wanted to protect the result - it shows you how quickly the confidence goes in the team."

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