Paul Merson urges Arsene Wenger to start 25-year-old in Arsenal v Tottenham

The Arsenal legend believes Jack Wilshere should start the Gunners' clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Photo: The Sport Review

Paul Merson has urged Arsene Wenger to start Jack Wilshere for the first time in the Premier League this season in Saturday’s north London derby.

The Gunners midfielder has found his first-team opportunities limited this season after falling down the pecking order at The Emirates.

Wilshere was sent out on a season-long loan last season and he made one assist in 25 appearances in the Premier League.

However, the England international opted to return to Arsenal in the summer despite his uncertain future at the north London club ahead of the World Cup.

Wilshere has impressed when called upon after he made his first appearance in other 18 months in a 3-1 win against Bundesliga outfit Cologne.

The 25-year-old has made one assist in eight appearances in all competitions, providing an assist in a 5-2 victory at Everton last month.

Wenger was criticised for starting Mesut Ozil ahead of Wilshere in a 3-1 loss to leaders Manchester City despite the German’s refusal to sign a new deal.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes Wenger should start Wilshere against Tottenham given his previous experience of north London derbies as a local lad.

“If I was Arsene Wenger I would play Jack Wilshere,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“I think he understands how big this match is, and I don’t think the other players understand what it means for the fans. You need people in there that understand how big it is. It’s massive.”

Wilshere has less than 12 months remaining on his current Arsenal deal but hasn’t signed a contract extension – yet.

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