By Chris Harris
Jack Wilshere's start to the season has proved that old football adage: if you're good enough, you're old enough.
Wilshere has already made four first-team starts - matching last term's total before September is out. The England international has looked the part in the Premier League and Champions League and was at the heart of Arsenal's 6-0 win over Braga in midweek.
Gael Clichy admired Wilshere's display from his left-back berth and knows a thing or two about being a teenage talent - he became the youngest player to win a Premier League medal in 2004 at the age of 18. As far as the Frenchman is concerned it all comes back to Arsène Wenger and the faith he puts in his youngsters.
"That is why Jack is playing," said Clichy. "The boss is not scared of playing young players, as long as you have the ability to win the game and show your qualities.
"On Wednesday night he did that and since last year he has shown some great touches. He has the spirit and he is not the only one - we have so many young English players which would be good for the English people and the fans. Jack is one of them and for sure the future is bright for him."
As Wilshere develops he can expect inevitable - and perhaps unfair - comparisons with a certain other Arsenal midfielder who took the top flight by storm as a teenager. But Clichy insists it is far too early to say whether Wilshere can emulate World Cup winner Cesc Fabregas.
"It is difficult to say because at the same age Cesc was already playing in the starting line-up with players like Patrick Vieira," he said.
"Jack is a really good player, really talented but I think he still has some time to show people he is as good as Cesc. The talent is there, the quality is there but I believe there is a big step between playing a few games and being the No 1 like Cesc.
"But he's a great player and I hope he does become as good as Cesc, that would be great for the team."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 17 Sep 2010