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Wilshere stars as comeback draws closer

Jack Wilshere's first-team return moved a giant step closer after he turned in a superb display for the Arsenal Under-21 side as they recorded a 2-1 win over Everton on Monday.

• Wenger bemoans league position
• Blog: Lacklustre performance
• Blog: Will the real Arsenal stand up

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had initially planned to re-introduce the youngster to first team action in the Capital One Cup game against Reading next week, but Wilshere now looks ready to re-enter the fray against QPR on Saturday after playing a full 90 minutes and being involved in the moves for both of Arsenal's goals in a game staged at Everton's Finch Farm training ground.

Wilshere was a surprise name in Arsenal's first team squad for the trip to Norwich last Saturday, but Wenger later confirmed that he would only have giving his 20-year-old starlet a run-out if his side were recording a comfortable win at Carrow Road.

As it turned out, the 1-0 defeat against Chris Hughton's strugglers left the Gunners in need of the kind of lift Wilshere's return will provide, though the Arsenal boss will resist the temptation to include his returning hero in his side for Wednesday's night's Champions League game against Schalke.

There was further good news for Wenger as both Bacary Sagna and midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong both also played a full 90 minutes of the Under-21 game against the Toffees, with both also set to be in contention for a place in he side for the QPR game at the weekend alongside Wilshere.

Meanwhile, an Arsenal spokesman has been forced to issue a statement defending the club's decision to travel by plane to last Saturday's game against Norwich, even though the journey took a mere 14 minutes from Luton airport.

"The club considers all transport options available for the first team when travelling to an away fixture," an Arsenal spokesman said. "Given the severe disruption to rail services at the weekend the most time efficient option was to fly, hence the first team made the journey by plane from London to Norwich."

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