Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is now ready to play for Arsenal's first team after he put in a "dominant" display in the Gunners' 6-0 win over BATE Borisov in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
Per James Benge of the Evening Standard, the Arsenal manager said:
"Jack's moving forward, and you could see tonight that he is really ready now to play. He's sharp, he's quick, he's incisive. His game is his dribble.
"Technically he was very good tonight for 70 minutes in the game. He was dominant in midfield, on the creative side. That's very good news for us."
Wenger's comments come more than a month after he expressed his belief that Wilshere was ready for England selection, per ESPN FC's Mattias Karen:
Mattias Karén @MattiasKaren
Wenger on possible England call-up for Wilshere: "I think he's ready. He was not three weeks ago, he is today."2017-11-1 12:41:21
The midfielder is still to begin a Premier League match for Arsenal, however, with all seven of his starts this season coming in the Europa League or the Carabao Cup.
While the calibre of the opposition he has faced in those matches is not of the same standard he would face in the top flight, he has taken his opportunities and impressed when given the chance.
Thursday was no exception as he ran the show with some sublime and penetrative passing, and he also scored a fine goal to cap his performance. Football.London's Charles Watts picked it out as the highlight of the game:
Charles Watts @charles_watts
Shame just under 30,000 saw that. The rest missed 90 minutes of real entertainment, some cracking goals and one of the moments of the season when Jack pinged his one in.2017-12-7 23:57:52
The 25-year-old also teed up Mohamed Elneny with an assist. Goal's Chris Wheatley shared Wilshere's stats from the match:
It's an encouraging sign for the player, whose contract at the Emirates Stadium is up in the summer; and with the festive period approaching, it seems he will have more opportunity to play Premier League football in the coming weeks, which he'll need if he's to have a chance of playing in the 2018 World Cup.
Wenger's cautious approach with the injury-prone midfielder has been understandable after he began the season recovering from a broken leg, but now is the time to see if he can handle playing more frequently and impress against stronger opposition.