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Wenger lauds Wilshere´s mental mettle

21 September 2012 17:14

Arsene Wenger has hailed Jack Wilshere's mental strength after the youngster returned to full training following 14 months on the sidelines.

Wilshere missed last season with knee and ankle problems, which eventually ruled him out of contention for a place in England's Euro 2012 squad.

However, the 20-year-old is finally back in training and Wenger feels the ordeal will leave him in good stead for the future.

"When you are so young and you are out for 14 months that is a good test for your mental strength and on that front he has been absolutely brilliant," Wenger said.

"He not only had ankle surgery, but when he thought the ankle surgery was over he had knee surgery and he handled that very well I must say.

"He's mentally a strong boy with a good level of confidence. I believe that what he has gone through will make him even stronger.

Wenger is handling the midfielder with considerable care as he looks to make a return to the Arsenal squad.

"We will see how he responds to the training now," the Frenchman said.

"We will have to be a bit patient, a bit cautious, because when a guy has been out or 14 months it takes a while to get back to match fitness.

"Jack is fit to practice and play, but to put high-level performances in takes time.

"He will need a few games in the reserves."

Wenger also reaffirmed his bold ambitions for the club and believed facing champions Manchester City on Sunday would be a good indication of his side's ability to end their seven-year drought without a trophy.

Arsenal make the trip to Manchester unbeaten and on the back of a devastating 6-1 victory over newly promoted Southampton.

"I have no doubt about the desire and the hunger of my squad," said Wenger.

"It will tell us a lot about our quality and how we can handle the big games will decide how well we do in the championship, that's why it is an interesting weekend for us.

"I believe we are quite strong, but we have some room for improvement. All is not perfect, but the signs are that we are very good and very strong.

"I don't question the hunger at all, it is massive in this squad, they want to do well, they are focused and they want to win.

"We want to, because we have many new players, to continue to improve and it is a big test as well to see how strong we are."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
2 35 +41 75
3 33 +54 71
4 35 +21 70
5 35 +23 69
6 35 +2 63

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