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Wilshere to play in Chelsea friendly

Jack Wilshere is understood to be only two weeks away from a first-team comeback, with the midfielder set to make a significant step in his comeback from a 17-month injury nightmare with an appearance in a closed-doors friendly against Chelsea on Tuesday night.

• Wilshere impresses for U-21s

The match at Arsenal's Colney training ground has been specifically arranged in order to facilitate players recovering from injury, with Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong also set to feature.

It is the young English midfielder who will ultimately benefit most though. Wilshere got his first bit of on-pitch action in over a year earlier this month when he played 63 minutes of an Arsenal under-21 match against West Brom, before going completing 74 minutes against Reading.

Illustrating his progress, the plan is to get him to play at least 75 minutes tonight.

After that, Arsenal hope he completes a full game against Everton's under-21s on Monday before finally making a first-team return in the Capital One Cup tie with Reading on 30 October.

While Wilshere's recent progress has understandably created some excitement, manager Arsene Wenger is conscious of the need to take every step as steadily as possible. He has already played down talk of any England return before the New Year.

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