Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that Jack Wilshere is not ready to start in the Premier League as he does not want him to suffer another injury after recovering from a setback. The 25-year-old spent last season on loan at Bournemouth, where he played regularly in the league initially but then was ruled out since April with a broken fibula.
The Gunners are stacked in midfield with Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey set to start, while Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin are also fit to play a part against Watford. Mesut Ozil is also back in training after recovering from a knee inflammation.
It was in Belarus where Wilshere showed shades of the form that saw him regarded as one of England's brightest young players when he first broke through at the Emirates. He produced a display that Wenger described as "outstanding" in a 4-2 win against BATE Borisov in the Europa League, which has sparked speculation over whether he will be awarded a new contract.
His performances in the League Cup and the Europa League saw calls for him to be inducted back into the first team in the league, but Wenger is understandably sceptical of his ability to withstand the pressures of the English league at this point. The midfielder's combative performance against BATE Borisov suggests that he will not shy out of a challenge, which given his recent history, concerns Wenger over his well-being.
Wilshere, whose deal expires in the summer of 2018, has been set a December deadline to convince Arsenal he is worthy of a new deal, which he can only justify with regular appearances and an injury-free spell in the team.
"If the competition was less ferocious, he is ready to play," Wenger said, as quoted by The Guardian. "I wouldn't be scared to play him. In the Premier League, he can play [soon]. He is nearly back to his best.
"It is part of his game," Wenger added on Wilshere's propensity to dive into challenges. "You cannot ask a guy not to go into any contact. I believe it is his strength. His strength is to turn the game forward and have acceleration individually or with the ball. Sometimes, when he accelerates individually, he pushes the ball too far and gets confronted."