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Wilshere can '100 per cent' play in the Premier League, says Arteta as midfielder continues to train at Arsenal

10:22 pm AEDT 17/12/21
Jack Wilshere
A midfielder that graduated out of the Gunners’ academy system has returned to north London in a bid to keep himself fit while being a free agent

Mikel Arteta is “100 per cent” convinced that Jack Wilshere can still play Premier League football, but remains reluctant to speculate on whether or not a familiar face could earn a contract at Arsenal.

A product of the Gunners’ academy system has been training with the north London outfit after dropping into the free agent pool on the back of his release by Bournemouth.

Wilshere has endured his fair share of misfortune on the injury front in recent times, which has contributed to him being without a club, but he is still only 29 years of age and boasts 34 England caps to his name.

What has been said?

Arteta, who once played alongside Wilshere in Arsenal’s midfield, told reporters of the impact made by Wilshere at London Colney: "First of all it's great to have him around. He is this type of character who adds special feeling to the club. He comes in every day with a smile on his face, trying to do his best.

"His talent is unquestionable. When you see him in training, I think you have had some players say he is the best in training. So he has that.

"Now he is doing his coaching badges and it is completely up to him what the next step in his career will be and we are here to support that."

Pressed further on whether a man that left the Gunners for West Ham in 2018 could compete on a top-flight stage once more, Arteta said: “100 per cent, and if he has doubts I can tell him that.”

Wilshere would appear to be making a good impression on all of those at Arsenal, but Arteta is giving little away when it comes to the potential offer of terms to a former team-mate.

Quizzed on whether Wilshere could be given an opportunity to add to his 197 appearances for the club, Arteta said: “That’s a different story.”

The bigger picture

While Wilshere may be catching the eye in training at Arsenal, he has not taken in a competitive appearance since May.

He still has much to prove to those that have serious questions over his fitness record, despite the man himself claiming to have left those troubles behind.

There is also fierce competition for places to be taken into account at Emirates Stadium, with Arteta well-stocked for options in the middle of the park.

He already has the likes of Thomas Partey, Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny to fill a holding role, while Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard provide added creativity in playmaking posts.

Wilshere may have to look a little further afield for another big break, but managers are in the hunt for fresh faces ahead of the January transfer window and with Covid-19 outbreaks leaving them short on numbers.

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