By Chris Harris
Jack Wilshere believes the competition for places in Arsenal's midfield will bring out the best in him.
The 20-year-old is back in the first-team fold after missing last season with ankle and knee injuries, and has also returned to the England squad for next week's friendly with Sweden in Stockholm.
Wilshere was a regular during his breakthrough campaign of 2010/11 but he returns to an Arsenal engine room which now features Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin, as well as Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey.
Arsène Wenger has plenty of options in that department and Wilshere is ready to fight for his place.
"I think you can see that there’s great competition now throughout midfield," he said.
"That’s what players need - if you’re guaranteed a place every week maybe you can just go easy, but with the competition we have at Arsenal in midfield I think it’s good for everybody.
"I think you can see already that we’re gelling. A couple of months ago none of the new boys even knew each other or the rest of the squad, but I think good players just fit in.
"For example with Santi Cazorla, you can tell he’s just a natural footballer so he fits right in. The manager has proved in the past that he signs talented players and this is the case again."
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been earmarked for a future midfield role by Wenger and Wilshere can expect to line up alongside him for Arsenal and England.
"If we can get playing together for Arsenal then hopefully we can take it onto the international stage and it’ll be great for both club and country," said Wilshere.
"I think that Alex is already mature enough to step in at any level. You could see that at the Euros - he was just 18 but it was like he was meant to be there. That confidence is one of his main attributes, and I think that the boss at Arsenal has been really good for him."
Oxlade-Chamberlain has netted five times for Arsenal but Wilshere has just three to his name so far. It's a figure he wants to improve on.
"Before I got injured, I wasn’t getting forward enough and didn’t score enough goals, so that’ll be something I’m looking to do this year and I’ll hopefully get a few more for the team," said Wilshere.
"There’s maybe a bit more pressure to score more goals wearing the No 10 shirt as well! But that will all come as I continue to develop my game."
In the image above, Jack is holding the Nike High-Vis Ball - which is taking centre stage this season. Created with Nike RaDaR (Rapid Decision and Response) technology to provide maximum visibility in any conditions, the 360 sweet spot, extra-durable five-layer casing, and aerodynamic design make the Nike Maxim Hi-Vis ball Nike's most unstoppable ball yetCopyright 2013 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 8 Nov 2012