Jack Wilshere needs regular game time with the Reserves before Arsene Wenger will consider re-introducing the young midfielder into the first team fold.
The England international returned to training this week after nearly 14 months sidelined by injury, but despite arousing excitement from his teammates, it appears he will continue to be handled with kid gloves by the manager.
“We need to manage him well,” Wenger told journalists ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester City.
“He needs a few games in the reserves. He had ups and downs. He was focused, especially in the last three months. We have to be a bit cautious.”
“When you’re so young and you’re out for 14 months, it’s a good test for your mental strength.
“I always thought he would come back. I believe what he’s gone through will make him even stronger.”
According to James Olley of the Evening Standard, Wenger also remarked that Wilshere would train for 10 days before featuring in a Reserve fixture. Taking that into account it’s fair to say he won’t be gracing the Emirates turf (at first team level) for around three weeks.
One midfielder who could play sooner is Emmanuel Frimpong. The Ghanaian enforcer could play for the Reserves this evening after overcoming his second cruciate knee ligament injury in three years.
The 20-year-old hasn’t played any football since an ill-feted spell on loan with Wolves.
“He’s a bit in front of Jack on match fitness. He could play tonight for reserves. He has worked a very, very long time and he is ready.” Wenger confirmed.
So it’s good news on two fronts and with Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky also on the mend the medical team may well find themselves twiddling their collective thumbs soon. That’ll jinx it.