Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that midfielder Jack Wilshere is moving close to return to the first team after injury.

Wilshere could make his first Gunners appearance in more than a year on Thursday night, with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil rested and Francis Coquelin injured for Cologne’s Europa League visit.

The England midfielder opted to join Bournemouth on loan last season despite featuring in two of Arsenal’s first three Premier League games, and his recovery from a broken leg held him back at the start of pre-season this summer.

But the latest injury of a stop-start career is behind him, and Wenger has been encouraged by Wilshere’s progress at London Colney.

“There was always a huge pressure on him to come back as quickly as possible and to expect a lot,” Wenger said.

“He’s on a good way in training. He’s getting stronger and stronger every day, and that’s what we want from him.”

“He was injured at the start of the season from last season, so he was a bit behind the other players but he’s getting better and better.”

“Every game is an opportunity for him and this season’s a good opportunity for him as well.”

Asked whether Wilshere will start against the Germans, he said: “I don’t give the team out today – I will give it out tomorrow.”

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