Jack Wilshere’s talent and quality has never really been in doubt, but in order to earn a long-term future at Arsenal, he has to stay fit.
That’s ultimately the message from Arsene Wenger, who has challenged the 25-year-old to maintain his fitness over the next three months and prove to him and the club that he can be a reliable focal point in the team moving forward.
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Wilshere has been blighted by problems throughout his time at the Emirates, as aside from the 2010/11 season and between 2012-14 when he made over 20 Premier League appearances in each campaign, he’s struggled to make it into double figures in other years while he’s had to settle for a bit-part role at other times due to his fitness woes.
The England international now faces a real test as with his current contract set to expire next summer, he really is playing for his future to earn a new deal with Arsenal.
Wenger has outlined what he wants to see from the fan favourite, and unsurprisingly it essentially revolves around being available for selection first and foremost, and then showing the talent that everyone knows that he has in his locker.
“He needs to keep his health and be capable of competing. If he can play from now until December at the top level, he will be back. If he has other set-backs then it will be more difficult,” Wenger told beIN Sports, as reported by Sky Sports.
“It’s a vital season because he’s nearing the end of his contract, it’s a World Cup year and he has been an Arsenal player since he was a kid, so all that’s at stake for him and for us as well because you’d love a player like him of that quality to come back.”
Wilshere looked in great shape and form in the recent win over BATE Borisov in the Europa League last month, and if Arsenal can get that version of him back on a regular basis, then there’s surely not even a debate over whether or not he receives a new contract.
However, as has always been the case with him, he has to string a run of games together and prove that he can deliver consistently and hope that his body doesn’t let him down.