Jack Wilshere admits he is surprised by how often he has played for Arsenal this season.

The 18-year-old made his 12th start of the campaign when Newcastle visited Emirates Stadium on Sunday. That's only one short of Gael Clichy, Alex Song and Marouane Chamakh - and don't forget Wilshere sat out three games through suspension last month.

The teenager is already a fully-fledged Arsenal first-teamer but he could so easily have been back at the Reebok Stadium this term after a successful loan spell with Bolton in the second half of last season.

"At the start of the season I could have been going to Bolton for another year, but when I spoke to the boss about it he said he wanted to keep me and he showed faith in me," Wilshere told the Official Matchday Programme.

"Obviously I wanted to play games for Arsenal but there was a bit of me that thought there were so many good players here and I didn't expect to play so often.

“But the boss is good like that - when you play and are playing well he’ll keep you in there."

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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 8 Nov 2010