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 be cautious 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 the sidelines since suffering an ankle injury in a pre-season friendly against the New York Red Bulls in 2011, and missed the entirety of last season.

Having made his competitive come back in an Under-21s match against West Brom this week, Arsenal fans are hopeful of seeing their midfield maestro play in the first team imminently.

"He is doing very well but we need to be patient. He needs a progressive build-up," he told reporters at a press conference.

Another injury concern for the Gunners has been first-choice goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, who has been out since the 6-1 home win over Southampton three weeks go, but Wenger warned that the Pole was still some time away from a comeback.

"He is two to three weeks away from practising normally. It takes five or six weeks to heal."

Finally, Wenger confirmed that he was planning on using Theo Walcott as a striker in the coming weeks, amid speculation that the 23-year-old's signing of a new deal depends on him being shifted from the wing.

"I did it with [Thierry] Henry and [Robin] van Persie and I think I will do it with Walcott."

Arsenal travel to West Ham on Saturday, with kick-off scheduled for 18:30CET.