‘He's a special character to return to that level'

Jack Wilshere’s renaissance has been one of the stories of our season.

The England international started the campaign with question marks over his fitness - and his future - but he’s emerged as a pivotal player.

Nine appearances in five weeks, including four consecutive starts, culminated in an influential display against Crystal Palace on Thursday night.

Jack’s visionary assist for Alexis’ second goal secured us a 3-2 win and Arsene Wenger has seen significant improvements from our long-serving midfielder.

“I believe that he has really improved tactically and defensively,” said the boss.

“When he does that his defensive game becomes even better because Jack has a great quality when he wins the ball, he plays well when he prefers pressure. He has that little burst there to take you out of pressure, and then suddenly he can open the game up.”

‘That little burst’ often gets a mention when Jack is at or close to his best, and it’s been heartwarming to see a player so troubled by injuries back in the thick of it.

“We must give credit to this guy,” said the boss. “He has come through and his performance [at Palace] deserves some credit because it demands some character.

“Overall I have a big respect for Jack because it’s all nicey-nicey when you are super-talented and are the greatest player ever at 17, but to come back to that level when you have seen what he has gone through? That shows a special character.

“I never thought his career was over because in my job what is a very important quality is that you always continue to believe in human beings. I believe everybody is alive for a fight so I never gave up on him.”

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