Belfast Telegraph

Wilshere hasn't given up on his World Cup dream after winning injury fight


By Mark Mann-Bryans

Jack Wilshere believes he can earn a spot in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad after proving he can still cut it in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old Arsenal midfielder has suffered a torrid time with injury over the past three years and spent last season out on loan at Bournemouth.

He returned to the Emirates Stadium in the summer and, having shone in his Europa League outings, Wilshere has now earned a place in Arsene Wenger's Premier League side.

Wilshere's contract expires at the end of the season, and he can talk to foreign clubs from his birthday on January 1.

He has been insistent for some time that he wants to remain at Arsenal, with Wenger revealing recently that contract talks would begin at the end of December.

Wilshere has not been capped by England since the shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016, with Southgate wanting his squad to consist of players who are regulars in the Premier League.

Now Wilshere has broken into Arsenal's Premier League line-up, he feels he can push for a place on England's plane to Russia.

"I think I have proved to myself that I can play in the Premier League, I trust my body again and I am confident going into games that I can affect them," he said.

"That is all I can do, I can have a positive affect on this team and then we will see if the England manager picks me."

Wilshere again stressed his hopes of penning a new deal at Arsenal in the coming weeks, having come up through the ranks with the club.

"This is where I want to be, this is where I see myself in the future," he said. "Whether I will be, and whether things sort themselves out, then we will see in the next couple of weeks I suppose, but I want to be here.

"I am enjoying my football and am playing in the Premier League now and I want to help Arsenal get to where it should be.

"I think the biggest thing for any footballer, even more so for me because of the injuries and the games I've missed in the past, is that you are playing.

"Apart from that, there are a few small things to sort out but, as long as I am playing, I am happy, I have missed too much football and I just want to be playing really. I'm in a good place mentally at the minute, I want to continue that and improving on my form, affecting the team, having a positive impact on the team and helping the team try and get into the top four and challenge for trophies."

≈ Former Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has announced his immediate retirement from professional football.

The 37-year-old had been playing for Sparta Prague but the club revealed that he has decided to hang up his boots during the winter break.

Rosicky, who struggled with injuries towards the end of his 10-year stay at Arsenal, said he felt he was no longer in a position to offer his best to Sparta - the club where he started his career in 1998.

"After careful consideration I have realised I am no longer able to fully prepare my body for what the professional football requires," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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