By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes that a loan spell for Jack Wilshere would serve as a 'finishing school' for his football education.

The 17-year-old has been linked with a temporary switch to Burnley in the New Year and Wenger is considering whether to let Wilshere leave Emirates Stadium for the short-term.

The manager has stressed that Wilshere must be guaranteed games to justify a loan move, but he believes that a spell away from Arsenal will benefit the teenager as it benefited Ashley Cole a decade ago.

The then 19-year-old Cole spent three months on loan at Crystal Palace in the latter stages of the 1999/2000 campaign and returned to nail down a place in the Arsenal first team. Wenger thinks Wilshere can follow a similar path.

"[A loan spell] is like a finishing school," said the Frenchman. "It is what we call a post-education experience.

"The spell at Palace really gave Ashley the needed confidence and convinced everybody that he could play at the top level because he adapted straight away.

"Ten years later you think it was not a coincidence."

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30 Dec 2009