By Chris Harris
Jack Wilshere should be spared the expectations of a nation when he returns from injury, according to Arsène Wenger.
The 20-year-old is close to a first-team return after 14 months on the sidelines and continued his progress with 90 minutes in a training ground friendly on Wednesday afternoon.
Wilshere was a revelation for club and country before succumbing to injury last summer but Wenger does not want the midfielder to be built up as 'England's saviour'.
"The fate of the country should never turn to one player," he said. "You have to have many good players and if you have to wait until one player comes back that means something is wrong.
"If Spain are world champions and European champions it's because they are spoilt for choice. If Cazorla is not fit, Fabregas plays. If Fabregas is not fit, Iniesta plays. That for me is the biggest problem you have in England.
"Even a player like Arteta doesn't get called up for Spain and once you have a problem like that in England, you will not need to go bonkers for anybody."
All the same, Wenger is confident that Wilshere will thrive when he returns to top-flight action - partly because his injury problems emerged slowly rather than suddenly.
"You can have apprehension after a serious injury," explained Wenger. "In your memory you have a moment where you have been hit and you will try to avoid getting in the same position again.
"For example, if you protect the ball and somebody tackles you from behind and kills your knee, when you come back it will be difficult to protect the ball in the same position. People may not notice but many times the players does not get in that position where he has been vulnerable.
"The other problem - with Eduardo for example - was that he had a restriction of his ankle movement, which is a massive problem for a football player.
“Jack has none of that - he was not injured in a specific tackle. He had a stress fracture that came slowly, so he has no memory in the game of having been kicked by anybody or injured by anybody. There is no specific position where he got injured."
After so long out Wilshere will have some new team-mates with whom to build relationships. Again, Wenger does not expect this to be a problem.
"Good players like to play with each other," he said. "Cazorla came here and straight away after 10 minutes of training everybody understood he is a great player.
"The easiest way to find good combinations is to play offensively together. The most difficult thing for the manager is to find a defensive balance."
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