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Wenger backs England recall for Wilshere


London (AFP) – Injury-plagued midfielder Jack Wilshere is ready for a return to the England squad despite barely featuring in the Premier League this season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said on Wednesday.

Wilshere’s last England cap came as a substitute in the shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 which led to Roy Hodgson’s departure as manager.

“I think he’s ready,” Wenger said when asked at Arsenal’s training base about a potential call-up for the 25-year-old, who has impressed in his Europa League outings this season.

“Personally, I think he’s ready. He was not three weeks ago but he is today. He’s ready. I have the same problem. He’s competitive. In every single competition, he’s ready to play. I would encourage him to do it.”

Wilshere has played only about 15 minutes of Premier League football despite his return to fitness, with current boss Gareth Southgate in attendance for that appearance as a substitute at Everton.

He has had to use his opportunities in the Europa League to make an impact and is likely to start once again when Arsenal host Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates on Thursday, knowing victory will secure qualification into the round of 32.

“I can only repeat what I personally think: I don’t know how you can keep a super-fit Jack out of the England squad,” Wenger said.

“No. I manage him like every single player. Since three weeks, he is treated like any other player.”

Wilshere has featured in the Europa League as Wenger selects an almost completely rotated side in Europe and the League Cup.

That means the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez will not feature on Thursday as they prepare for the tough test against Premier League pace-setters Manchester City on Sunday.

“Both of the teams do well,” Wenger replied when asked about his squad rotation across competitions.

“Even in training, when we play them against each other, it’s very tight. I’ve gone into a rotation policy and I want to stick to that at the moment.

“I must say that I am pleased with the quality of our performances in every single competition.”

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