Jack Wilshere says leadership comes naturally to him - even though he's still only 21.

The midfielder produced perhaps his best performance since returning from injury when he inspired Arsenal's vital FA Cup victory over Swansea City at Emirates Stadium, taking the fight to the Welsh club and scoring the winner with a powerful strike four minutes from time.

Wilshere has picked up where he left off before missing 14 months of football with ankle and knee injuries, and the sight of him leading the charge from a more advanced role was something to behold on Wednesday.

"I think that [leadership] is part and parcel of my game. That's the type of player I am," said Wilshere.

"I like to pick the ball up and run at players, and I suppose drive the team on. It's not just me. We have Santi Cazorla as well, who was excellent on Wednesday night, and Francis Coquelin, who came in and did excellently. Abou's looking sharp too.

"We've got a lot of players who can pick the ball up and drive. Sometimes we need that. It changes the game if you've got someone who can pick the ball up and drive with it and open space for players."

Wilshere's front-foot display against Swansea was reminiscent of another England international - Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool star was a role model for Wilshere when he was growing up.

"I think I remember him scoring a similar goal to mine in the FA Cup final against West Ham," recalled Wilshere. "He's a great player.

"I think I'm different to him. He's a better long passer than I am as well. He's a great role model. He's been the heartbeat of Liverpool for years and when England have performed, he's been the stand-out performer.

"If I can get anywhere near as good as him, and drive the team forward like he does... he's someone I looked up to from when I was younger. He's got 100 caps for England. For any young midfielder, he's someone to base your game on."

At this rate Wilshere himself will be a role model for the generation of talent emerging behind him at Arsenal and beyond. Not that he will allow himself to get carried away by the hype and praise.

"I've got a great family around me so they keep me grounded," he said. "I don't see myself as any different to anyone else.

"I need to work hard. I'm not where I want to be now. I've missed a year of football which is tough, especially for a young player. I just take every game as it comes and work hard in training and on my right foot and my long passing and just get better and better."

Copyright 2017 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
Chris Harris 18 Jan 2013