Wenger urges Wilshere to be patient as he steps up Arsenal comeback

The Gunners boss is looking to ease the 20-year-old back to full fitness after a long spell on the sidelines while conceding Wojciech Szczesny remains unavailable through injury
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he will continue to take precautions in easing Jack Wilshere back into first-team action but admitted the midfielder is doing well in his rehabilitation.

The 20-year-old has endured a torrid spell on on the sidelines but made his competitive comeback in an Under-21s match against West Brom this week.

While Arsenal fans are hopeful of seeing their midfield maestro play in the first team imminently Wenger has urged his young talent to remain patient in his rehabilitation.

The Frenchman told the club's official website: "Jack is doing very well but we need to be a bit patient.

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"He has played 60 minutes in the reserve team and he needs a few games, progressive build-up to get his body used again to competition, to shocks, to fights.

"But he is doing extremely well, the situation looks very good. We have to be cautious, not crazy, because of his talent you are always pushed in a situation where you would like to rush him back, and we have to resist that.

"The next match should be next week and he is working very very hard [in training]. The body is like that, when you have been out of competition for 14 months it takes a long time to find your sharpness back. You cannot rush it."

Wenger also insisted any calls for Wilshere to return to the England team were premature, and said he was confident manager Roy Hodgson would not rush the midfielder back for the Three Lions.

"Everybody is keen [to have Wilshere back] and we are the first," he added.

"I think there are three things that are important for every player: the health of the player, the interests of the club and the interests of the national team. You have to try to combine the three but the most important thing of course is the health of the player.

"Roy Hodgson is long enough in the job to know that a player who has been out for 14 months, you have to give him time to play again. When the time comes up, he will play for England again of course."

Another injury concern for the Gunners has been first-choice goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny.

The Polish shot-stopper has been out of action since September's 6-1 thrashing of Southampton, when he picked up an ankle injury.

And Wenger has now admitted the 22-year-old is set to continue his spell on the sidelines with Vito Mannone continuing his run as the Pole's deputy.

"He is two to three weeks away from practising normally," Wenger continued.

"It takes five or six weeks to heal."