Jack Wilshere says his game with Arsenal’s under-21s puts him a “step closer” to a full return and is confident he can earn a place in England’s European Championship squad.


Wilshere completed 65 minutes on Friday as the U21s beat Newcastle 3-1 at the Emirates. It was his first game since playing for England in a qualifier for the Euros last June after fracturing his ankle in August.

“I felt good. It is nice to be back at Emirates Stadium and play my first game. I know that I’m not there yet, not quite ready to play in the first-team but it is another step closer to my fitness,” Wilshere told the Arsenal website.

“I have said before I want to go to the Euros and I know that I have to get back into the Arsenal team. I have to persuade the England manager and Arsene Wenger that I should play.”

Wilshere has limited time to do so, as Arsenal will only have six more games to play following Saturday’s trip to West Ham. But England coach Roy Hodgson has already said he will pick Wilshere if he is fit to play, and will be increasingly likely to do so if Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson is ruled out for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury.

Wenger has said Wilshere might need one more game with the U21s before being included in the first-team squad, and the midfielder insists he benefits from getting playing time.

“You can train as much as you want, but the toughest thing is getting competition ready with the players and this all helps,” he said.

Wilshere was also impressed by Tomas Rosicky, who made his own comeback from injury by playing the first half of Friday’s game and setting up the second goal for the Gunners.

“He [Rosicky] looked sharp,” he added. “He still has that change of pace over those first five yards and he can still play the final ball. He was looking sharp.”