Arsene Wegner hails progress of Jack Wilshere
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is well on the way to becoming the complete midfielder after his goal knocked Swansea City out of the FA Cup.
The England international scored the only goal of a 1-0 win four minutes before the end of a third-round replay at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger had deployed Wilshere, 21, in a central attacking role instead of his usual deeper, more defensive position and was rewarded with an outstanding performance as well as the well-taken goal.
"Jack played in a different position tonight, a bit higher up and it suited him," Wenger said. "There was a better team balance.
"A complete midfielder can defend and attack and Jack can also dribble and give a final ball so the closer players like him are to the goal the better it is for them. He has quality and enthusiasm - and a love for the game, which is the most important thing for me."
Wilshere has been a member of the Arsenal first-team pool for only just over three months as his career was put on hold for nearly 18 months by serious injuries to an ankle and then a knee.
Wenger admitted he had been astonished how quickly Wilshere had been able to resume where he had left off, having been capped by England while a teenager.
"I had no experience of a player who had been out for 17 months in my whole career. I didn't expect him to be this good at this stage," Wenger said.
"I always thought that if we could get Jack back to a reasonable level by January 1 we will have done well but he is ahead of what I could imagine. He is back to what he was before the injury. I think so, yes."
Swansea are still involved in the League Cup and will reach the final of that competition next week if they can avoid a two-goal defeat at home to Chelsea in the second leg of the semi-finals.