Arsene Wenger likened Jack Wilshere’s extensive injury history to a person having suffered a car crash, intimating there may be psychological issues that have yet to be resolved.
Wilshere suffered a leg fracture in April last season while out on loan with Bournemouth and has been slowly making his return to the first-team ever since. The 25-year-old, who is in the last 12 months of his deal with the Gunners, played for the u23s for a short period and now looks set to feature against FC Koln in the Europa League tonight.
But Wenger is worried there may be psychological damage caused by the midfielder’s lengthy injury history which may have had an effect on how he approaches the game this evening. The English international is set to make his first Arsenal appearance in 13 months and his manager has been keeping a close eye.
“We are all different in front of something like that. Some just come back like nothing happened to them, so are traumatised for their whole life. It is like you have a car accident; some don’t want to drive anymore and some take the car and go on again. It is very different and depends on the personality of people,” Wenger said, reports the Express.
“The disadvantage is of course that he was out of the game for a long time but there are advantages as well. Because he knows his body well, he has become very professional and learnt how much time it takes to get back to his best so he is more patient.
“I’ve not really spoken to him much over the summer because I was away a lot in Australia and China while he was at home. He started to do his rehab and since I came back, I have observed him more.
“He is very hungry and sharp. As well, he is not completely at his best, but he is getting there every week. He enjoys being back and competing for his place and what I see in training is positive. I know Jack well enough. He analyses every training session, what he has done well.
“He has a football brain so I don’t need to tell him too much on that score. But I speak to him about how I see his evolution.”
Wenger is using Arsenal’s Europa League clash with FC Koln as a chance to give many of the fringe players minutes. For Wilshere, I feel tonight will be a chance to boost his match fitness against a credible opponent, much better than any side he would face in the reserve team.
In my opinion, it seems the future plan is to reintroduce him to the first-team for Premier League outings when he is ready, so getting a good amount of minutes this evening is key.