By Chris Harris

Jack Wilshere has turned plenty of heads this season, including Pep Guardiola's.

The Barcelona manager saw the 19-year-old at close quarters for the first time a little under three weeks ago when he went toe-to-toe with some of world football's most illustrious names at Emirates Stadium.

Wilshere more than held his own against the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the first leg of a captivating Champions League tie and Guardiola admits that the meteoric rise of Arsenal's midfielder has shocked him.

"Wilshere is a top player. He has been a big surprise," admitted Guardiola.

"I did not know him at the beginning of the season but he is an excellent player, not just Arsenal but also for the [English] national team.

"We have many players like him in our second team and it is very good news for football to have players like him."

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 7 Mar 2011