By Richard Clarke
Jack Wilshere had a long list of people thank after his return to the first team at the weekend - his family, the Club’s medical team and the Arsenal fans
The England midfielder was a surprise starter against QPR on Saturday - exactly 524 days since he last began a Premier League game. But the 20-year-old looked like he had never been away as he helped the home side take control early on.
The winning goal came late on, long after Wilshere had been substituted midway through the second half. But nothing could take the shine off a great day for the former Arsenal trainee.
“It felt amazing to be back,” Wilshere told Arsenal Player. “All the hard work and long days at the training ground have paid off.
"From the moment that I went out there, the fans were great. Even before the game when I was meeting Arsenal fans they were positive and all I can do now is prove to them that I can get back to the level I was at before and show then what I can do.
"It's been a long journey. As I've just been told, it's been 524 days since my last game. That's a long time, especially not to have any competition. You can play many reserve games but to come back into the Premier League is difficult.
"I have to thank all the medical staff, Declan and Colin Lewin. When you go to the training ground day after day there are times when you don't want to do it, especially when you see all the boys go out to training. But it's great now to be back and hopefully I can push on from here.
"My family have been great too. My dad is always been there for me and my mum as well. I think they were just as excited and nervous as me coming back.
"I've got my son now too and I don't know what I'd do if it wasn't for him. He helped me through it massively.
"No matter what you go through, when you see you son you're happy. For a couple of months, that was all I was looking forward to really was going home to see him.
"I didn't want to go into training just to see the other boys going out on the pitch to train. But you have to. For the last couple of months, I've been going in at 8am and going home at 4pm and the hard work is paying off now.”
Watch the full interview with Jack on Arsenal Player now.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