ARSENAL head development coach and former Sheffield Wednesday assistant manager Terry Burton is delighted for Jack Wilshere after he took his “first step” towards a first-team return on Monday after 14 months on the sidelines.
The 20-year-old has struggled with an ankle injury suffered prior to last season but stepped up his comeback by playing 63 minutes of the Gunners’ under-21 game at West Brom.
Wilshere came through the match unscathed and Burton, who was assistant boss at Hillsborough until July, was pleased with the midfielder’s performance.
“It’s like all players when they come back for their first game: they realise how difficult and tough it is,” he said.
“You always have to make that first step, and he has done that and that is fantastic.
“He is a quality player, it is great for the club that he has taken that first step on the road towards getting back into the first team. I think he is delighted to have been back on the pitch, as we all are.
“It is a start, now he just needs to keep working hard to play the football we know he is capable of playing, which we know is very exciting.
“When he runs with the ball, it is very close to him and as he runs he always has his head up and is looking for opportunities to play people in.
“What you can’t duplicate in training is that match sharpness and players coming in at you, so he will have benefited from that in this match.”
Arsenal, who sit seven points shy of Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea, host Olympiakos in the Champions League tonight. They saw a successful start to the season abruptly halted at the weekend as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.
“The players are disappointed we lost the game,” said Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager. “They are still down of course, but we have a Champions League game in front of us at home and we want to put things right.”