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Jack's Back

Jack Wilshere makes his returns for the Arsenal U21's; there is much rejoicing

Mike Hewitt - Getty Images

After a long, long road to recovery from a stress fracture picked up in an England v Switzerland game in June of 2011, Jack Wilshere played his first competitive minutes today, in an Arsenal Under-21 Premier League game against West Brom. I didn't see the match, it being an under-21 match and not broadcast anywhere, but from all reports, including this here one, he came through it unscathed, if a bit gassed. He played 63 minutes, by the end of which his play was fairly sloppy and ragged, but after being out and not having played a competitive match for over a year, that's to be expected. He'll be back in shape in a couple weeks at this rate.

He's also clearing the psychological hurdles of tackling and being tackled, both in training, where the team isn't taking it easy on him...

"I've given him a few testers," Frimpong added with a smile. "When you're training with me every day, you're always going to come back with a few knocks."

...and in today's match, where he didn't shy away from many challenges.

The expectation around London Colney is that Wilshere will be a first-team substitute by the end of the month, and today was a critical step down that road. I can't wait to have Jack back in the squad - he's a solid player and having him back and available for consideration will only help Arsenal as they contend on several fronts this season.