Wenger: Wilshere ready for England return
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is ready to return to the England fold.
The Gunners midfielder has had a torrid time with injuries in recent years and is pushing for his first Three Lions call-up in a year.
Wilshere was selected for the double-header against Scotland and Spain last November while on loan at Bournemouth but did not make an appearance.
His last England cap came as a substitute in the shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland at the Euro 2016 finals which ultimately saw Roy Hodgson leave his post as manager.
Now Gareth Southgate is at the helm and Wilshere, who has shone in his Europa League outings this season, could break back into the England picture when he announces his squad on Thursday for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
“I think he’s ready,” Wenger said when asked about a potential call-up for the 25-year-old.
“Personally, I think he’s ready. He was not three weeks ago but he is today. He’s ready. I have the same problem. He’s competitive. In every single competition, he’s ready to play. I would encourage him to do it.”
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Wilshere has played just 13 minutes of Premier League football despite his return to fitness, with Southgate in attendance for that appearance as a substitute at Everton.
He has had to use his opportunities in the Europa League to make an impact and is likely to once again start when Arsenal host Red Star Belgrade on Thursday knowing victory will secure qualification into the round of 32.
“I can only repeat what I personally think: I don’t know how you can keep a super-fit Jack out of the England squad,” Wenger added.
“No. I manage him like every single player. Since three weeks, he is treated like any other player.”
Wilshere has featured in the Europa League as Wenger selects an almost completely rotated side in Europe and the Carabao Cup.
That means the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez will not feature on Thursday as they prepare for the tough test against early Premier League pace-setters Manchester City on Sunday.
“Both of the teams do well,” Wenger replied when asked about his squad rotation across competitions.
“Even in training, when we play them against each other, it’s very tight. I’ve gone into a rotation policy and I want to stick to that at the moment.
“I must say that I am pleased with the quality of our performances in every single competition.
“It’s very difficult to make a change. They all want competition, they all deserve competition because of their quality.
“If you look at the number of minutes played by all of these players since the start of the season, many of them are in very competitive shape and that should be an advantage of us for the rest of the season.”
While Sead Kolasinac was unlikely to feature against Red Star, Wenger revealed the wing-back, who scored and laid on the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Swansea on Saturday, is expected to recover from a hip problem in time for the trip to City.