By Chris Harris
Jack Wilshere never doubted that he would return to Arsenal's first team - despite missing an entire season through injury.
The 20-year-old sat out the 2011/12 campaign with ankle and knee problems but was back where he belonged last month when he ended a 524-day wait for a competitive appearance by starting against Queens Park Rangers.
Wilshere has since made two further first-team appearances after preparing for his comeback with three under-21 fixtures and a training ground friendly. And Arsenal's new No 10 was always confident of re-establishing himself.
"I don’t think there was a point where I thought I’m not coming back," said Wilshere after completing 90 minutes at Schalke. "I always thought I could come back.
"It was a serious injury, of course it kept me out for so long, but it wasn’t the result of a bad tackle or anything where it was career-threatening. It was just something that happened over time.
"I knew it would take time to heal and then I had a few setbacks. Obviously you question yourself and say ‘am I going to come back to the level that I was at before?’ Hopefully now I can get back to training well."
Wilshere took the Premier League by storm the season before last, belying his tender years with a string of precocious performances in the Arsenal midfield. International honours followed and Wilshere believes he can scale the same heights before long.
"Every day I really need to work hard and get back up to the level I was at," he said.
"I think I can [reach that level]. On Wednesday I felt better than I did over the weekend and the weekend before that so I am feeling better and better with each game that goes on.
"It’s a long season so I need to take it easy a bit but I am looking forward to the future."Copyright 2017 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