By Nik Brumsack

Arsène Wenger says it was essential that Jack Wilshere had a rest at the weekend while he continues his recovery from long-term injury.

The England international was left on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, having started two games in four days against Tottenham and Montpellier.

Wenger is happy with the progress Wilshere is making but believes it is right to exercise caution when it comes to the 20-year-old’s workload.

“It’s a relief that he’s had no setback,” the Arsenal manager said.

“He had a little inflammation but I think the rest will help him to get rid of it. Apart from that, he’s done very well. He’s not played for 17 months, people forget what that means - it’s massive. I’m very happy with the way he progresses.”

Wilshere’s England team-mate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, started at Villa Park after overcoming a hip injury, and Wenger is confident the 19-year-old will become a top player in years to come.

“He has not played a lot recently,” Wenger said. “He lacks a bit of physical fitness, but he tried today. He was dangerous in patches.

“He’s learning his job. He’s a very talented young boy. I believe he will be a great player. At the moment, he learns his job. He’s 19 years old.”

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26 Nov 2012