By Rob Kelly

Thomas Vermaelen says Jack Wilshere is stronger than ever and has the potential to be one of the best midfielders in the world.

The 20-year-old has been out for 14 months with ankle and knee injuries, but is firmly on the comeback trail after making two appearances for the under-21s.

Vermaelen is delighted to see the midfielder close to full fitness and believes his return will be a major boost to the whole Arsenal squad.

“You know what he did in his first full season for Arsenal - he was amazing,” the captain told Arsenal Player.

“For me, he can be one of the best midfielders in the world. He has the potential for that.

“I’m really happy he’s coming back now. He’s working on his match fitness and that’s the most important thing. I think in the future [he] will lift the team.”

Despite being out of action for so long, Vermaelen is confident Wilshere will hit the ground running once he is back in the first team.

“When I was out with injury, I was in the gym a lot,” he said. “Jack was in the gym even longer working hard on his weaknesses.

“You can see that now in his body on the pitch. For me he looks much stronger and that’s good. Sometimes you have to take the positives when you’re out for more than a year and I think he’s done that.”

Watch the full interview with Thomas on Arsenal Player now.

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 10 Oct 2012