Arsene Wenger sees 25-year-old Arsenal star as ‘a special player’
Martin Keown lifts the lid on Arsene Wenger's affection for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere
Arsene Wenger sees Jack Wilshere as a special player despite the Arsenal midfielder’s incessant injury problems, Martin Keown has claimed.
The Gunners manager handed the England international his first Premier League start of the 2017-18 season for their short trip to West Ham United on Wednesday night.
The 25-year-old was named man of the match for his efforts during Arsenal’s goalless stalemate with the Hammers to leave Wenger’s men in seventh place in the Premier League table.
Wilshere spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Bournemouth in order to prove his fitness throughout an entire campaign and made two assists in 25 appearances before succumbing to a leg break.
The former Bolton Wanderers loanee scored one goal in six Europa League group-stage appearances to help the Gunners reach the knockout phase of the competition for the first time.
However, Wilshere had found his first-team opportunities limited in the Premier League with five substitute appearances before his first start of the season at West Ham.
Ex-Arsenal defender Keown revealed Wenger’s affection for Wilshere despite the Arsenal star’s well-documented fitness problems.
“Wenger sees him as a special player. He treats him as his own son and he’s had to nurture him because he’s had many injuries.
“Step one is for him to be readily available. The performances have improved game after game.
“He’s incisive and runs with the ball in that midfield like no other player. And he wants to be an Arsenal player.
“If he comes back into form I’d play him for the rest of the season because he has that little extra bit of quality.”
Arsenal finished in fifth place in the Premier League last term to miss out on a Champions League spot.
The Gunners haven’t won the top-flight crown since 2004.
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