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Jack Wilshere professes Arsenal love after shining in Europa League

Theo Walcott's double led the way for Arsenal to hold off BATE Borisov in Group H play of the Europa League.
Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi jokes he'd be pestering Arsene Wenger for a job if he hadn't moved to the United States.

Jack Wilshere has made it clear he wants to stay at Arsenal beyond this season but says it's too early to sit down and have contract talks.

Wilshere's current contract expires next summer and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said the midfielder must prove he can remain fit before the club offers him a new deal.

Wilshere spent last season on loan at Bournemouth and was linked with a move away from the Emirates this summer, but he told the Evening Standard that he still sees his long-term future at Arsenal.

"Do I see myself staying? Of course I do," Wilshere was quoted as saying after Thursday's 4-2 win over BATE Borisov in the Europa League. "I have always been at Arsenal. I love this club. They have been good to me over the years.

"Me and the boss [Wenger] have a great relationship. He played me since I was 17. He put his trust in me since then, so we have a great understanding. We are in contact all the time and I want to stay."

Wilshere dazzled in the first half against BATE with perhaps his best Arsenal performance in three years -- a span that was interrupted by numerous long-term injuries and last season's loan spell.

It was only his second start of the season as Wenger has eased him back after a broken ankle, and he has yet to play in the Premier League.

Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere impressed while starting for Arsenal in the Europa League on Thursday.

But Wilshere said at least he's feeling like "a proper Arsenal player" again.

"You are always playing for your future but I am happy to be back," he said. "I am happy to feel part of the squad. It has been a while. You forget, last year I was at Bournemouth, the year before that I was injured, so it has been a while since I felt like a proper Arsenal player.

"But now I am back training, back in the squad, I'm playing these types of games, so I feel good. I am doing everything I can to stay fit, training well and we'll see.

"I'm taking each game as it comes. Another game Sunday, then League Cup and more Europa League games, so I am happy."

Wenger said after Thursday's game that it was still too early to start discussing a new contract with Wilshere, and the midfielder seemed to agree with that.

"Of course, it is going to be a big decision. It is my future. Now is not the right time," he said. "I'm fit, I'm healthy, I'm enjoying my football and getting back to my best. When the time is right, we will sit down."

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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