Interview

‘He kept the ball well… that’s vintage Jack’

Per Mertesacker admitted the team had been given a thorough test by Doncaster on Wednesday night - but felt one big positive was Jack Wilshere.

The England international completed 90 minutes and impressed in central midfield, with the club captain pleased with what he saw.

This is what he told Arsenal Player:

on the performance…
It was tough from the first to the last minute. The longer the game was, the harder it got for us to keep control of the ball, to keep control of the game. It was difficult today. We got through and we’re going to build on that.

on Doncaster not making life easy for Arsenal…
That’s what I meant. I think it was a good test for us to see that you cannot give five per cent less in such a game against lower-league teams. They did really well and their forwards, especially in the second half, had the physique to withstand 90 minutes plus. It’s a good test for us and those who didn’t feature in the Premier League last time had a go tonight. It’s important that we get game time, that we get extra fitness. Only with these games can you get that extra shape that you need to compete for places in the Premier League. It was important to win, but we obviously need to improve and move the ball quicker at times.

on Jack Wilshere’s first start in 493 days…
It was very good to have him back out there. You can see that he’s getting more comfortable with his position now. He’s brave now and he trusts his body. That’s the most important thing, that he’s capable of playing 90 minutes. He will just grow with that and he was vocal as well, which was important for us, especially at the end. He kept the ball well in tight situations and to come out of that is vintage Jack. That’s what we want to see from him in the future here at Arsenal.

on the young players…
You can see that it’s going to be difficult against League One teams. They are tough, they come at you, every single time you touch the ball someone is behind you. It was a good test for everyone. To get comfortable playing in front of 60,000 is what we have the development centre for, the academy. That’s what they want, so they need to rise to those occasions and play to the level that’s required. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, but those tests are vital for those young players.

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