by Nia Griffiths

Jack Wilshere has spoken about what the squad have been working on in training and their objectives for the coming season.

The midfielder, who was unfortunately sidelined for most of last season with ankle ligament damage sustained against Manchester United at home, has given a small glimpse into our players’ strategy when it comes to keeping possession and getting the ball back.

Arsenal are known for liking to keep hold of the ball. After all, if we have it, the opposition don’t and the chances are significantly reduced of them actually scoring a goal.

Now, according to Wilshere, we’ve been working on winning the ball back as soon as we do lose it. Within five seconds, to be exact.

We worked a lot on the first five seconds when we lose the ball,” he said. “If we can win the ball back in the opposition’s half where, most of the time, when we win it we’ve got the players up front and the quality in midfield to find them… then we’re always going to look dangerous.”

In pre-season, the team have been pressing more, looking hungry to earn the ball back and making sure we do win it back as soon as possible.

As both the players and manager have been saying since the end of last season, we need consistency going into the Premier League and the 23-year-old has also echoed this theory, saying, “We didn’t start the season well last year but the way we finished it… if we had played the whole season like that then we could have been champions. If we continue our form from the end of last season when we dominated games with our possession, and we won the ball back in better positions high up the pitch, then we’ve got a real chance.”

He continued, “We want to win the league, of course we do. We feel we’ve been together a few years now, we’ve brought in world-class players who have had time to settle, we’ve added a world-class keeper with all of his experience, he’s been there and he’s done it, he’s won everything.”

Adding, “So we really feel we’re in a strong position.”

On a personal level, the midfielder, who’s slowly returning to fitness and showing massive potential for the coming season, said, “I was happy with my form at the end of last season, I think I needed it for my head, going into next season. I missed a lot of football and when you’re on the sidelines watching the team do well, sometimes it’s hard because you want to come back and play.”

Wilshere only managed to feature 24 times for the senior team last season due to his cautious rehabilitation, but he ended on a high, scoring a stunner against West Brom in our final game.

“I came back and I was happy with my form, I was a bit disappointed that the break came when it did,” he admitted. “I only had three weeks off and then I was straight back into it so I’m really looking forward to the season.

“Having a full season on the pitch is the priority, and I think the best way to give yourself the best opportunity to do that is by getting a good pre-season in. It is a good base and it helps you start the season well.”