Santi Cazorla admits he didn’t know much about Jack Wilshere when he arrived at Arsenal but now understands why his teammates spoke in such lofty terms about the young Englishman despite his long-term absence.
The Spanish international had to wait until the late October win over QPR before getting a chance to play alongside Wilshere but firmly believes that the partnership they’ve since struck up with Mikel Arteta bodes well for the rest of the season.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, the former Villarreal and Malaga dynamo reflected:
“He has amazing potential. I did not know him well when I arrived because he was not at the training sessions due to his injury, and everyone was already talking about him, saying that when he returned, the team would improve, and that has been the case.
“Every day he is gaining more confidence, he is forgetting about the injury, and he is a key player that can influence the result in a game, and thus, we are all very happy to see him 100 per cent again.
“He was out for a long time and it was an injury that takes time to heal. It is always hard to come back from injury, especially if it is very long. You always have that fear up until you start getting your confidence back, and you start getting back to your old self, and he has done that quickly.
“Every day that goes by we understand each other better. It is very easy for me to play with them.
“Mikel is more of a tactical player, a very important player in any side. He always has to be well positioned, to cover the open spaces that we leave further up the field.”
Praising Arteta’s standing in the dressing room, Cazorla also paid lip service to the way his compatriot has helped him settle in his new surroundings.
“There is a reason he is the vice-captain of the team: he is a reference player in the dressing room,” he continued. “He has helped me a lot.
“He knew I was a new signing, that it would be a positive experience for me but that I would also need time. He has had a calming effect on me.
“He has shown his confidence in me, and it is clear that Mikel has been key in my adaptation because he has always helped me.”