Saturday, 9 April 2016
Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky in action for Arsenal Under-21s
LONDON -- Jack Wilshere stepped up his long-awaited injury comeback by playing 65 minutes for Arsenal's under-21s on Friday, his first game action of the season. Wilshere looked a bit cautious in the first half of the 3-1 win against Newcastle at the Emirates, before showing more of his usual willingness to drive forward after the break in an encouraging display for both Arsene Wenger and Roy Hodgson. Wilshere's movement showed no signs of the fractured ankle that has ruled him out since August, and his touch has not deserted him either. His fighting spirit also looked intact, as he angrily squared up to a Newcastle player in the second half in a minor dispute. Wilshere should have had an assist when he sent Stephy Mavididi clear on goal after a quick burst forward, but the striker shot wide. Tomas Rosicky, who also made his return from a thigh injury, did set up Mavididi for Arsenal's second goal in the first half with a perfect through-ball. The Czech Republic midfielder impressed before being taken off at half-time and nearly created a second goal for Mavididi as well, but the striker was questionably ruled offside. Serge Gnabry, who hasn't made any of Wenger's squads since being recalled from an unsuccessful loan spell at West Bromwich Albion in January, also started for the Gunners and made it 3-1 before the break with a low composed finish. But the main focus was on Wilshere, who drew negative headlines throughout the week after being caught up in a nightclub fracas but is desperate to prove his fitness in time to earn a spot in Hodgson's European Championship squad. And the midfielder showed he is on the right track -- although this was hardly an exhaustive workout for him.