Jack Wilshere is ready to press on after putting an injury-hit start to the campaign behind him.

The 17-year-old shone in pre-season, winning back-to-back man of the match awards at the Emirates Cup, but he was left kicking his heels on the sidelines after suffering an injury last month.

That ankle problem kept Wilshere out of the Carling Cup win over Liverpool but he is back - and feeling fitter and stronger than ever.

"At the beginning of the season I think I was doing well," he told the Official Matchday Programme.

"I picked up an ankle injury in training at the start of November, and that was frustrating, but you just have to bounce back from these things and now I feel fine.

"I played in the Reserves last week, and of course at Manchester City for the first-team, so things are back on track. And physically I feel much stronger than I was this time last year - I do a lot of gym work with Tony Colbert, but I think as you get older it also comes naturally."

Wilshere is in the Arsenal squad to face Olympiacos on Wednesday night and has been joined in Greece by a number of his peers as Arsène Wenger gives the young Gunners a chance to impress in the Champions League.

One of them, Craig Eastmond, has made a huge leap forward this year. He started 2009 as Arsenal's Youth Cup right-back but has been transformed into an effective 'holding' midfielder in the Reserve League and the Carling Cup. Wilshere is a big fan of a player he knows well.

"When we were at, say, under-12 level he played right-back and right-wing, and you could always see he was good technically but maybe he was behind everyone else physically a bit," said Wilshere.

"But he's worked hard, started playing in central midfield last year I think and his technique is so good that he looks comfortable there. It goes to show that if you do well in the Reserves, the Boss will play you in the Carling Cup - you'll always have a chance at Arsenal if you apply yourself."

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

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
8 Dec 2009