13 Sep, 17:30
Arsene Wenger has revealed that Jack Wilshere will have the opportunity to play for Arsenal this season, starting with the Europa League match against Cologne.
Wilshere could make his first Gunners appearance in more than a year on Thursday night, with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil rested and Francis Coquelin injured for Cologne's Europa League visit. The England midfielder opted to join Bournemouth on loan last season despite featuring in two of Arsenal's first three Premier League games, and his recovery from a broken leg held him back at the start of pre-season this summer.
But the latest injury of a stop-start career is behind him, and Wenger has been encouraged by Wilshere's progress at London Colney.
-There was always a huge pressure on him to come back as quickly as possible and to expect a lot. He's on a good way in training. He's getting stronger and stronger every day, and that's what we want from him. He was injured at the start of the season from last season, so he was a bit behind the other players but he's getting better and better, said Wenger.
Arsenal have not begun a season outside the Champions League since 1997 and now face the Thursday-Sunday pattern of games which other managers have bemoaned in the past.