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Wilshere steps up recovery

Jack Wilshere is set to play his first match for 14 months on Monday night when he takes to the field for Arsenal's Under-21 Premier League match away to West Brom.

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However, although the match will mark an "important step" for the 20-year-old, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has cautioned against expecting him to rush back.

"He has not played for 14 months so we have to calm your impatience a little bit," he said. "It's fantastic for him. When you are at that age and a doubt for such a long time, that is absolutely massive."

Not unexpectedly, Wenger scoffed when it was suggested that Wilshere may return for England's forthcoming double-header of fixtures against San Marino and Poland.

"I think that will be too early for him. He has not played for 14 months."

Wenger said there had been "no contact" between himself and Roy Hodgson about Wilshere but did allow one joke.

"Who does England play? San Marino? I think he can play in that game."

Meanwhile, Wenger confirmed that Thomas Vermaelen, who missed the 1-1 draw at Manchester City through illness, is fit for Arsenal's clash with Chelsea this Saturday.

Wenger also said that goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was "two or three weeks away" from making a return, and that he expected Tomas Rosicky to be back in a fortnight.

Defender Bacary Sagna has returned to full training but will not be fit in time to face Chelsea.

It remains unclear whether Chelsea captain John Terry will be part of the game, with the FA set to come to a judgement on his disciplinary hearing.

Terry has already announced his retirement from England duty and Wenger said: "It was a surprise to me. If it's really his gut feeling, that he has enough of international football, you have to respect that.

"If it's because of this story, he knows more, certainly, than I do but maybe you think from the outside it's a bit early, that the decision is a bit early. But if it's how he feels, you have to respect that. He has played many games for England and you have to respect that decision. Paul Scholes made that decision a long time ago and very early and everybody respected that."

Wenger, meanwhile, refused to be drawn on how he would deal with a similar situation, answering diplomatically: "At the moment that has never happened and the case you refer about has not been judged so that's very difficult."


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