Arsenal midfield duo Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky made their much-awaited return to action when they started in the Gunners U21 side's 3-1 win over the Newcastle United reserves on Friday (8 April) giving Arsene Wenger a double boost going into the final seven games of the season. The Emirates Stadium outfit are still holding onto their faint hopes of clinching the title, despite being 11 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City.
The England international was playing the first game in over ten months after suffering a fracture just before the start of the season, while the Czech Republic international lasted just 19 minutes following his comeback at the end of January before picking up a thigh muscle injury, and this was his second U21 appearance of the season. The midfield duo are keen to prove their fitness and return to the first-team sooner rather than later as they are both keen to travel with their countries for the European Championship finals in France later in the year.
The 24-year-old English midfielder played 65 minutes in his first competitive match of the season and was delighted with his return. He admitted that he was not yet ready for the first-team, but is surely a step closer. He is keen to prove his fitness to Wenger and Roy Hodgson before the end of the season in the hope of travelling to France for Euro 2016 in June. Wilshere also praised Rosicky, who played the first-half during their convincing victory over Newcastle.
"I have said before I want to go to the Euros and I know that I have to get back into the Arsenal team. I have to persuade the England manager and Arsène Wenger that I should play," Wilshere told Arsenal's official site following the game at the Emirates Stadium.
"I felt good. It is nice to be back at Emirates Stadium and play my first game. I know that I'm not there yet, not quite ready to play in the first team but it is another step closer to my fitness."
"You can train as much as you want, but the toughest thing is getting competition ready with the players and this all helps," he added.
"He [Rosicky] looked sharp. He still has that change of pace over those first five yards and he can still play the final ball. He was looking sharp."
Wilshere and Rosicky's return for the U21 coincides with the return of Aaron Ramsey, who has come back to first-team training following a thigh injury, and will give the manager an added option ahead of their crucial clash against West Ham United on Saturday (9 April).