By Giuseppe Muro

Jack Wilshere always had confidence in his ability to make it into the Arsenal first team - but admits he has surprised even himself by the swiftness of his rise to the top.

After a successful loan spell at Bolton during the back end of last season there was talk of another temporary switch over the summer but, after a highly-successful pre-season, Wilshere has since become a key part of Arsène Wenger’s side.

Wind the clock back just 18 months and Wilshere was part of the team that lifted the FA Youth Cup at Anfield - tomorrow, after making 23 starts already this season, he may be rested for the FA Cup proper against Leeds.

Since becoming the Club's youngest ever Premier League player - at 16 years and 256 days - when he came off the bench at Blackburn in September 2008, Wilshere’s rise has been rapid.

“I always believed I could become an established part of the team but maybe I didn’t think it would come this early,” he admitted. “I just have to thank the boss for showing faith in me and keeping me in there.

“There is a lot more to come from me, especially at my age. There are players around me I can learn from day in, day out.

“I’d like to get further forward but if it helps the team then it is good for us. I think me and Alex alternate quite well. It’s good for me to learn and play with Cesc and watch him go forward.”

With two cup games coming up this week the England international is hungry to bring success to the Club after the much talked-of five year wait for a trophy.

“We know Leeds are a big club. They will bring loads of supporters and they’ll be up for it. So we have to make sure we are up for it, not do anything silly and hopefully progress to the next round,” said the 19-year-old.

“I think the Carling Cup is massive because we want to win something and if we can win something in February, it will give us confidence for the rest of the season.”

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7 Jan 2011