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Arsene Wenger backs Jack Wilshere to earn England recall

The Frenchman says that “everyone had given up” on the 26-year-old, who scored his first Premier League goal since 2015 on Wednesday.

Image: Julian Finney

ARSENAL MANAGER ARSENE Wenger praised Jack Wilshere for his “remarkable strength” and believes the midfielder is ready for an England recall.

Wilshere scored his first Premier League goal since May 2015 with the opener in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Wednesday.

The midfielder has played 11 league games this season but only six of those have been starts.

Wilshere last played for England at Euro 2016 but Wenger says it would be no surprise if the 26-year-old forces his way back into the England squad with the World Cup just over five months away.

“I think he is at the level now where not many people expected him to be,” Wenger told a news conference.

“When was the last time he played for England? Exactly, against Iceland [at Euro 2016], he came on.

“Since he has not played for England and I would say that means that everybody had given up on him. Today, nobody would be surprised if he was selected again.

“So that means instances of us being criticised for that, I think first of all he deserves a great credit for remarkable strength and we do as well.”

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table, five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

Wilshere says there has been no progress in his contract negotiations with the club but he remains hopeful of playing for England at the World Cup.

His current deal at the Emirates Stadium is due to expire at the end of the season but, while he now appears more likely to remain in north London, the midfielder was unable to offer an update on his talks with the club.

“No progress,” he bluntly told Sky Sports.

Questioned on his chances of earning a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad at the World Cup in June and July, Wilshere said: “I want to be going to Russia but now is not the time to be thinking about that.

“I’ve got to take each game as it comes, keep playing in this team, keep improving and we’ll see when March comes and the next international games [arrive].

“I’m happy, I’m enjoying my football. I feel I’m getting better and better each week.”

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