Jack Wilshere back in training: Arsene Wenger in London Colney

Arsenal player Jack Wilshere's injury is improving

Arsenal player Jack Wilshere's injury is improving - Credit: Archant

Harpenden-based Arsenal star Jack Wilshere is making good progress following the latest in a run of injuries, according to club boss Arsène Wenger.

The midfielder is back in training ahead of schedule, according to Wenger, speaking today (Friday) at the club’s training grounds in London Colney.

At his weekly press conference, before this weekend’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, the Gunners boss said that while he had assumed the star would be out for six to eight weeks, it looks likely it will be just three to four weeks, “which is positive news”.

Asked whether he was ‘mindful’ of bringing Wilshere back too early, Wenger said: “I always bring him back when he says to me he is ready.”

Wenger said he also heeded advice from the fitness coach.

Stressing the importance of listening to his medical team, he added: “It comes back to your relationship with your medical [team] and your fitness people. We’ve never rushed him back.

“Maybe when he was younger, we overplayed him sometimes because he was such a good player, but now we are quite cautious with him.”

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Danny Welbeck, whose last game was in April against Chelsea, is still out with a knee injury. While he is apparently “making good progress, he is still not available” for this weekend’s game.

Wenger added that Welbeck is “not close” to playing again as he is not yet in full training.

“I would say at least three weeks from today.”

Arsenal suffered a surprise Premier League defeat against West Ham United (0-2) at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday (9).

Reflecting on the Gunners’ poor start to the season, Wenger pointed out that there are 37 games to go, but admitted the early loss had made the team feel a ‘bit smaller’.

He added: “We were disappointed … but the team is now focussing on its next game.

“A defeat is a defeat – it is never a blessing. It always hurts. Let’s focus on our qualities. It is how we respond [which counts].

“We have a united group of players.”

He said that Crystal Palace has “good defensive potential, strong defence, they have played together for a long time” and that Arsenal was prepared for a tough game.

When a reporter commented on the lack of English players (73 out of 276) featuring in the Premier League at the weekend, Wenger replied: “The 73 who made it must be really top players, because it is a world competition today.”

He said the results of the opening weekend showed it was a tighter and tougher league, “because the quality of the teams, in the lower part of the table, has improved. It would indicate we have tough games [ahead].”

• Crystal Palace V Arsenal, Barclays Premier League, Sunday August 16, Selhurst Park, 1.30pm