By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Jack Wilshere has revealed the difficulties of keeping a positive frame of mind during his season-long injury hell.
Injury-plagued Wilshere has not kicked a single ball for Arsenal in the current campaign after fracturing his shin during the run-up to the Community Shield last August.
The England international was initially expected to be back in December but his comeback has kept being postponed in what has been familiar situation for the player.
“Sometimes it’s been difficult to stay positive, especially after the injuries that I’ve had which have been frustrating, but as the injury goes, you get closer to full fitness and you see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you start to think about coming back and getting involved in the team,” Wilshere told the Arsenal website.
“My recovery is going well. I’m working on it and I’m slowly getting there. I’m back on the pitch and I’m just trying to build my fitness up because everyone knows how tough it is to play in the Premier League.”
Arsenal have remained in the title race despite being without a number of senior midfielders in recent months, with Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin joining Wilshere on the sidelines.
Following Tuesday’s goal-less draw against Southampton, the Gunners dropped to fourth in the Premier League although they are only five points adrift of leaders Leicester.
Wilshere said: “We’ve had a strong season and we’re in a position this year where we can really go for it.
“In the past we’ve struggled around Christmas and before we’ve given ourselves no chance really, but this year we’re [close to the top] with important players coming back. Hopefully they can help us.
“We’ve added a world-class goalkeeper [Petr Cech] and he’s been massive for us with his experience. Apart from that, the team’s the same and I think a big part of [us challenging] is because we’ve been together for a few years and the younger British players have started to mature a bit and that’s really helped.”