Arsene Wenger Hails Jack Wilshere After BATE Borisov vs. Arsenal, Talks Contract

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2017

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, center, controls the ball during the Europa League group H soccer match between Bate and Arsenal at the Borisov-Arena stadium in Borisov, Belarus, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Sergei Grits/Associated Press

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised Jack Wilshere for his performance in the 4-2 win over BATE Borisov in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday but is not yet prepared to open up about the possibility of a new contract for the midfielder. 

"He had an outstanding first half, and he did fight until the end," Wenger said, per Arsenal's official website. "I think he is on a good way back to his best. He has shown that tonight."

The Frenchman continued: "He is at an age where a player normally gets to the best of his career. He is on the way up, and he has only been stopped by a series of injuries. Hopefully, I just pray that he is not hampered anymore by any problems and then we will see him getting stronger and stronger. He has shown again tonight that he has not lost his football."

The 25-year-old was one of the more experienced players in the Arsenal side on Thursday, and he put in a strong showing as he completed 90 minutes again.

He was particularly impressive in the first half as he dictated proceedings and set up Theo Walcott's opener with a cross following a one-two that allowed him to burst clear on the left-hand side of the box.

Minutes earlier, Wilshere had slipped Walcott in with a slide-rule pass, but the forward hit the post after latching on to the ball.

Football.London's Charles Watts was full of praise:

The England international is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium and is in the process of trying to earn a new deal.

ESPN FC's Mattias Karen even suggested Wenger should already be considering handing him one on the strength of his performance:

However, when asked when his contract situation will be resolved, Wenger replied: "Not tonight."

While Wilshere has been impressive in the early part of this season, a new deal at this stage would be premature.

Even if his showings had come against top Premier League sides as opposed to Doncaster Rovers and BATE, his fitness is a much bigger concern than his form.

Wilshere's talent has never been in doubt, but he must still prove he can make it through the campaign injury-free before Wenger can take the gamble of giving him another contract.