Wenger: Wilshere faces competition for Arsenal place

The Arsenal boss says the midfielder faces a battle to earn his starting space back while also discussing his problems when picking a starting 11.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told the club’s official website that midfielder Jack Wilshere faces a tough challenge to get back into the first team. 

The England man is nearing full fitness after having ankle surgery earlier in the season, but is yet to break back into a settled Gunners midfield, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla both impressing in his position. 

He was an unused substitute for the 0-0 draw with Chelsea recently, but last played a competitive game for the team five months ago, with his whole career so far having been plagued by ankle problems.

Now, Wenger has said Wilshere faces a tough fight to earn back his place, while also highlighting where the midfielder's strengths lie. 

"It is difficult to get in this team, I don’t deny that," he said. 

"“[Wilshere] needs competition. At the moment, every week he is stronger, he is getting back to the level now. This week was the first week he is sharp again. His strength is in the final third, offensively. That is where he really expresses his talent."

The manager has also spoken of the difficulties he now faces when it comes to selecting a first XI, such is the quality available to him in the squad.

The Gunners are currently equipped with a number of midfielders all vying for limited places, with the likes of Cazorla, Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Wilshere all competing for midfield spots, while the emergence of Francis Coquelin this season has added another name to the mix.

There is competition in other positions as well, with the forward and goalkeeping spots also hotly contested, and Wenger says it is now hard for him to pick the team each week.

“If you consider any individual case you can say you are sorry that he doesn’t play,” he added.

“[Competition for places] is much more difficult. David Ospina, Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin have all come in, and it is very hard to pick the team at the moment as they are all top quality.”

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