by Lewis Ambrose

Once again, it is a big season for Jack Wilshere.

The same is said of the Arsenal midfielder every year as he continuously battles with injury concerns, usually with his ankles, which break up his momentum in the team. With the emergence of Aaron Ramsey, the signing of Mesut Özil and the new position of Santi Cazorla, Wilshere’s stock has fallen ever further.

The English midfielder is no longer a guaranteed starter when fit and wouldn’t make the ‘best XI’ of most Arsenal fans, but Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is backing Wilshere to prove his ability as long as he remains available for selection.

“He’s a top-class player with a top-class potential,” said the manager. Arsenal fans won’t want to hear about potential anymore with Wilshere now 23 years old, but it is difficult to talk about him in any other way. “No matter how good you are in life, you need to have a consistent presence at the top.

“Today, what top-level sport doesn’t suffer is to be in and out because it’s too demanding physically [to stay in].”

And there is the problem for Wilshere. He hasn’t played an entire half a season since his first year in the first-team back in 2010/11.

“What you wish for Jack is that he can compete now for six months without any problem, or for a year without any problem, and then you will see the player we all know he is.”

That sort of run without an injury is what’s needed for Wilshere to establish himself in the team once more. When he does that his game will undoubtedly improve, and Arsenal fans may once again begin to see the player that appeared at the top five years ago but has only shown himself intermittently since.