West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini compared Jack Wilshere to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo ahead of his Arsenal reunion.
Experienced midfielder Wilshere will return to boyhood club Arsenal with West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday after leaving the Gunners on a free transfer at the end of last season.
Wilshere was always highly rated at the Emirates Stadium, however, injuries ruined his chances of a consistent run of games for Arsenal and England.
But Pellegrini – who has overseen back-to-back defeats to open his West Ham tenure – talked up Wilshere as he likened the 26-year-old to AC Milan and Juventus great Pirlo.
"A lot of you will remember Juventus around four or five years ago, they played with one holding midfielder. It was Pirlo," Pellegrini said.
"And Pirlo is the same as Jack. He has the same characteristics as Jack."
Former West Ham and England manager Sam Allardyce claimed Wilshere and Mark Noble are too slow to play alongside each other in midfield.
Responding to Allardyce's comments, Pellegrini said: "That is his opinion. I know him and I respect him, and everyone has his opinion.
"I think that Jack Wilshere must play as Jack Wilshere. He is not a defensive midfielder to hold the line. He is a midfielder more comfortable when he comes out from our side and not receiving the ball back from the other goal.
"You must leave him to play alone, the play the moment, to receive the ball because he is going to make things happen."
Pellegrini added: "I think everyone praised Jack Wilshere not just for one game because if he could play in a normal shape without injury, he was always a player who makes a difference because he is a different player.
"I am sure [we will see that Wilshere again] because he is just 26 years old. Because he knows better how he must manage his physical work, so as not to be injured. This season we are working with him from July 1, 40 to 50 days, and he’s not having any problems.
"He just has to recover his trust in what he can do. Maybe his career was not all his top [form], because he had a lot of injuries. So I think at this moment we must give him trust, let him play, because I repeat what I said: He is a different player and he will do it."