Wenger: No Wilshere barriers
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere will have no psychological barriers to overcome when he finally throws himself back into action.
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England midfielder Wilshere, 20, has been out for 14 months with niggling ankle and knee injuries, but his agent confirmed he is set to be included in the first-team squad at Norwich later today.
Despite the disappointment of Wilshere's extended absence - which forced him to miss both Euro 2012 and the chance of playing for Team GB at the London Olympics - Wenger feels the player's mental focus will not be an issue.
"After a serious injury you have apprehension because many times it is linked," Wenger said. "In your memory you have a moment where you have been hit and you will try to avoid getting in the same position again.
"Jack has none of that. He has not been injured in a specific tackle. He had a stress fracture that came slowly, so he has no memory in the game of having been kicked by anybody or injured by anybody."
At his pre-match press conference yesterday, Wenger had rejected suggestions Wilshere would be quickly reintegrated into the first-team squad, having earlier this week had a run-out in a specially-arranged friendly.
However, Wilshere's agent Simon Bayliff later said on Twitter that the midfielder would be making the trip to Norfolk.
While Wilshere is not expected to get any game time at Carrow Road, the whole experience will help aid his rehabilitation after such a long period in the treatment room.
Wilshere is likely to play in another under-21s game against Everton next week, and then come into contention for the Capital One Cup tie at Reading on October 30 ahead of the Barclays Premier League game at Manchester United.
Wenger accepts the 20-year-old is impatient.
"Players always think they were ready and when you speak with them six months later and ask 'Do you think now you were ready?' They will say no," he said.
"It's not up to Jack to know that. His job is to play, he does not decide."
England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce would like to take Wilshere to the European Championship in Israel next summer for some valuable tournament experience, having seen his plans to include the player for the last edition of the tournament shelved because of fears over burn-out.
However, Wenger feels too much hope should not be pinned on Wilshere's return.
"The fate of the country is never to turn round to one player. You have to have many good players and if you have to wait until one player comes back, that means something is wrong," he said.
"If Spain are world champion and European champions it is because they are spoilt for choice. If [Santi] Cazorla is not fit, [Cesc] Fabregas plays. If Fabregas is not fit, [Andres] Iniesta plays. That for me is the biggest problem you have in England.
"Even a player like [Mikel] Arteta doesn't get called up for Spain and once you have a problem like that in England, you will not need to go bonkers for anybody."