By Rob Kelly

Jack Wilshere believes his lengthy spell on the sidelines might actually prove to be of benefit to him in the long term.

The England international has returned to the Arsenal first team this season after 14 months on the sidelines due to ankle and knee injuries.

The 20-year-old is delighted to be playing regularly once more, and admits he had some low moments during his time out of the game.

“I was at Emirates for every single home match,” Wilshere told the Official Arsenal Magazine. “It was hard at times, because I really wanted to be out there. Not just for my own selfish reasons but I wanted to help the team too because we had some difficult periods last season.

“There were a few moments [it was hard to miss out on]. When Thierry came back in January for example. He’s a legend and I really wanted to play in the same team as him. I also would have loved to play in that north London derby in February.

“When I look back now though, I could probably have done with a break, having played so much the previous season. Obviously I didn’t want the break to be so long, in fact I didn’t want to have a break at all, but if I look back on this in 10 years’ time, it might have done me some good in the long run.”

Wilshere says that since his return to the Arsenal team he feels stronger and fitter than at any other stage in his career.

“My body is stronger than it was before,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of work with Declan Lynch and the other physios here over the past year. I’ve improved my core, improved my leg muscle strength - everything.

“Cesc [Fabregas] used to say to me ‘take it easy, don’t play too many games’. Obviously I didn’t want to have a year off. But when I’m 24 or 25 I won’t have played as many games as someone like Cesc, and that will help me.”

Read the full interview with Jack in the latest edition of the Official Arsenal Magazine. Click here to subscribe or call 0845 301 7626

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Dec 2012