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The 34-year-old New York Red Bulls forward has suggested the Gunners "need" the playmaker, who has been out of action for exactly one year, back in the first team

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has lent his support to injured midfielder Jack Wilshere, emphasising the importance of having a fan of the club within the playing ranks.

Henry is currently plying his trade in the MLS for New York Red Bulls after spending eight years at the north London club, and he recognised the value of having players that share a local connection with the club, such as the England international.

"You want Wilshere around," Henry told Sky Sports News.

"He reminds me of when I first arrived when the old guard was there. He's an Arsenal fan in the first place and you need this type of player around in the dressing room.

Wilshere return date set

"It's not only that he's an Arsenal fan, and not only an Englishman, but he's a good player, it's as simple as that.

"What a shame that he stopped a bit because he was on his way. I just wish him all the best that he can come back quick and wear the shirt he loves so much."

Wilshere has spent a wretched year on the sidelines following a spate of injuries that coincidentally began with a knock sustained in a friendly with the Red Bulls exactly a year ago.

And although the prognosis is concerning, with Wilshere not expected to return until October at the earliest, his manager Arsene Wenger did label his and Abou Diaby's return from injury akin to two new signings.

"I saw what the boss said the other day and I will say what he said - hopefully they will sign this year Wilshere and Diaby,” Henry added.

"I thought it was a clever thing for him to say as usual.

"You need those guys around. Mikel Arteta did extremely well, but you need those guys also in the squad."

Arsenal complete their pre-season with a final fixture against FC Koln on 12 August.

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