After a long, long, long wait, Arsenal midfield star and injured guy Jack Wilshere appears to have returned to full, unfettered training with Arsenal's first team. He has not played for Arsenal for over a year - his last game for the club was in the Emirates Cup last summer - and still has a ways to go before he's match-fit, but this is certainly a very positive step for player and club.
Start getting excited, people. Not fully excited, but a little bit.
There had been reports and rumors for a while that Wilshere had begun training again, doing running and then ballwork, but that he was still being held out of full training as the plan was to take him forward slowly, to avoid the setbacks that he suffered basically all of last season. Then Noted Twitter Person AFCAMDEN claimed (that's a Sulia link, FYI) that Wilshere would re-enter full training "next week," while the Metro said the same, adding that he could be playing in U21 matches by the first week of October.
Then this morning came rumblings that Wilshere had trained. His agent tweeted that he had:
Delighted to say that Jack Wilshere was back in full 1st team training today. Understandably he is a very excited young man today.— Si Bayliff (@SiBayliff) September 20, 2012
...and a couple of pictures came out via club photographer Stuart MacFarlane's Twitter, including this one, which pretty much settles things. That looks like full, unadulterated Training to me, friends. Someone tell Andre not to break him, please.
Mikel Arteta is just as excited as I am - he's done an interview with Arsenal Player (seen here on Arseblog News), and he knows how much everyone's aching to see the new number 10 back out on the pitch.
It’s going to be a big boost for everyone...The fans have been waiting a long time. We get Jack’s enthusiasm in training...He’s going to bring something to the squad and more quality to the team. That can only be good for everyone.
In a post accompanying the full gallery of Wilshere's (and Emmanuel Frimpong, who also returned today) training re-debut, Arsene Wenger also had some things to say on the matter.
We are so pleased that Jack is back in full training. It’s been 14 months and that’s a long time for someone at his age. It’s an eternity, but it’s great news. We have to give him a few training sessions to see how he copes and responds to it. That’s the delicate, sensitive stage - to choose when to bring him in and out. We’ll have to handle that day-by-day.
Patience is a must here, for club, player, and fan. If Wilshere or Wenger get overly excited about his progress and start to rush him, that could lead to a set-back that would consign us all to more waiting, and nobody wants that. Responsibility and care are crucial if we want to get anything real out of Wilshere this year, even after he starts playing again.
But this is certainly very good news, and if/when Wilshere returns to the first team squad, Arsenal's midfield - probably him, Arteta, and Cazorla - will look awfully good.