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 By Kevin Palmer
Aug 9, 2014

Wenger backs Wilshere as Prem star

Arsenal have agreed to sell defender Thomas Vermaelen, with Barcelona or Manchester United reportedly the likely destination for the Belgian.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Jack Wilshere to emerge as a star of the upcoming Premier League season after claiming he has finally beaten his injury curse.

Wilshere has been blighted by fitness concerns in recent seasons as he has struggled to steer clear of the Arsenal treatment room, but Wenger is convinced the 22-year-old is ready to emerge as a shining star of his Gunners' line-up.

"It's a important year for Jack, very important," Wenger told reporters at Emirates Stadium. "He is only 22, but he has enough experience to say he is not a young player any more. This is a guy who starts games and is expected to make a difference at this stage of his career.

"For him, the problem until now was medical, but I think he is over it. This is the first time he has not missed a session since the start of the pre-season preparations. His ankle is fine and you can see he trains without restriction.

"At the top level, you have got to be consistent. You can't play six, seven or eight games and then rest for one or two. I think he is capable of playing every week now and this is why I say it could be Jack's year."

Jack Wilshere applauds the crowd following a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in a preseason friendly in the U.S.

Wenger went on to suggest his side's success in winning the FA Cup last May brought relief to all at the club, as their nine-year trophy drought was finally ended, a sentiment midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain echoed.

"People consider always what you haven't won and it's normal, we have to live with that," added the Arsenal boss. "Everybody was worried about winning a trophy and all of us who love this club wanted it.

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"I got used to this question about how many years it was. It made an easy job for the media to take this approach and a difficult job for me to say why, but you have to realise the history of football and this club.

"You go out at Emirates Stadium and you have all the trophies that Arsenal have won in their history listed on the side of the stand. If you look at that, you could see that it happened many times that this club did not win trophies for a few years.

"They were 17 years without a trophy at this club in the past. They have been 20 years without a trophy at other times. Yes, there were periods where we gave the feeling that we could win every season and we did that when I first came here, but then we had a period of financial restriction after the move to Emirates Stadium.

"Now we have won a trophy again. It was a good feeling and the aim is to come back and fight for more, but you should not be surprised that we won the FA Cup. We have been very consistent at the top, even with the limited resources in recent years.

"Nobody has finished in the top four 17 years in a row except for us, but I accept that everyone wants to see you win trophies. I do not work day and night not to win trophies, but it is difficult in England as the competition is high."

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