By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Jack Wilshere is set to return to full training next week as his long-awaited comeback draws nearer, Football Insider sources understand.
Arsenal staff have pencilled Wilshere in to train with the first-team squad in a major boost to the team for the final months of the campaign.
The Gunners want the midfielder to get two weeks of training under his belt before gradually phasing him back into competitive action with a run-out for the Under-21s.
Asked on Saturday if he could play any part in the second leg of Arsenal’s Champions League tie against Barcelona – the first leg is at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday – Wilshere told BT Sport: “It is possible, I mean it’s difficult to get back. The Premier League gets quicker and quicker and I know I’m not old but I’m different from when I was 19, it takes a little bit more time.
“But I’m training and running and hopefully I will be back. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take because I’ve only been doing ball work for about a week. I probably need a game in the under-21s and I’ll be ready.”
In other Arsenal injury news, Wenger confirmed that, as revealed by Football Insider on Wednesday night, Gabriel is set to be sidelined for the Barcelona and United fixtures, after returning to Brazil for treatment on a hamstring injury.
“Paulista is still out, he will need another week,” the manager said.