Wilshere in Arsenal squad, says agent
Jack Wilshere is set to be in the Arsenal squad for Saturday's match at Norwich, according to the player's agent.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed on Friday that Wilshere, 20, was closing in on a first team return after the latest successful step forward in his long-awaited comeback. But it was believed that the Frenchman would wait for a later date before bringing him back into the first team squad.
However, agent Simon Bayliff revealed on Twitter that his client's return to the squad will infact be this weeked - although it is assumed he will not feature.
"It's been two good news days in a row. Doesn't happen very often. Jack travels to Norwich in the £AFC 1st team squad! Delighted," Bayliff tweeted.
The England international played the full 90 minutes of a specially arranged game with Chelsea last Wednesday and came through unscathed.
Wenger had previously hinted on Friday that he may be ready to challenge for a first team return as early as next weekend, when Arsenal welcome QPR to Emirates Stadium or in the Capital One Cup tie against Reading a few days later.
"Jack is 80% match fit now and maybe needs one more game before he is back," Wenger said. "There is no apprehension for him in challenges. Maybe he will play for the Under-21s on Monday night and then we can look at it. The same is true for Bacary Sagna."
Wilshere's positive progress is contrasted by Theo Walcott's re-appearance in the Arsenal treatment room after his collision with San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini in England's World Cup qualifier at Wembley last Friday.
"It was a scary challenge for Theo," said Wenger. "He is out for the game at Norwich on Saturday and he has an injury to his chest and lungs. We have to treat that in a clinical way. It is bruising, so he is short of breath when he makes an effort, but that will heal. He will take about two weeks to get back to his normal level."
Wenger believes the 'moment of truth' has arrived for his team as he believes the Premier League 'establishes itself from this point forward' and he is confident that the attacking potential within his ranks is a step ahead of the options he had at his disposal at the same stage of last season.
"We are well suited to playing away from home and while Norwich will be a tough test for us, I believe we are more versatile in attack now," he suggested. "We have a positive attitude away from home and that is important for us."
Meanwhile, Wenger has confirmed that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is set for three months on the sidelines after he damaged ankle ligaments, while his Poland compatriot Wojciech Szczesny is still 'two weeks away' from a return as his ankle injury continues to take longer than expected to heal.
Arsenal fans may be concerned by the delay in Szczesny's return, as Wenger has said for much of the last six weeks that his first choice 'keeper is 'two to three weeks' away from a comeback and he is still repeating that line ahead of this weekend's Premier League fixtures.
Even though Szczesny's return date is unclear and Fabianski is out for an extended period, Wenger has said he will not look to sign a shot-stopper on an emergency loan deal even though he admits he has something of a crisis with his 'keepers.
"We have a problem because Fabianski is injured and will need surgery, while Szczesny is still out," he added. "We still have Vito Mannone, so we are not looking at a loan deal for a 'keeper."