Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal can start the season in excellent form, given the intensity of pre-season preparations. The Gunners have returned from a successful pre-season tour of Asia, where they won all four games by comfortable margins.
The next stop on the pre-season calendar is the traditional Emirates Cup, which will be held over the first weekend in August. The three teams in the fray this season are Italy's Serie A club Napoli, Turkish giants Galatasaray and Portuguese champions FC Porto.
The Emirates Cup will be followed by a one-off friendly against Manchester City, at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki on 10 August. And then the season begins, with the visit of Aston Villa on 17 August.
"The performances have got better every game and the opposition have got harder every game so it's good preparation. We've got the Emirates Cup coming up now and then Man City [in Helsinki] and then the season starts so we're going to be flying," Wilshere told www.arsenal.com.
The 21-year-old also sought to calm fears over his fitness. The England international said he expected to be fully fit by the start of the new season; this is Wilshere's first full pre-season in two years, given recurring ankle injuries earlier in his career.
"I felt better and better every game. It's difficult with the conditions. You struggle to catch your breath. I'm probably 80% fit. We've got a couple more tests and then we'll be ready," he explained.
Wilshere also praised reserve team players Chuba Akpom, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Eisfeld and Gedion Zelalem. He believes they were in fine form during the Asian tour and are future stars.
"I remember when I was their age. It's good to come away and get used to being around the first team and learning from the manager, who is good at bringing young players in and breaking them in slowly. They've done well and hopefully they can get in the Emirates Cup squad and really show the home crowd what they can do," Wilshere concluded.