Jack Wilshere, on loan from Arsenal, completed 90 minutes for Bournemouth on Saturday. Nothing unusual about that you might think, except, as Opta stats noted, it was his first time completing a full game for over two years.
The last time he played a full 90 minutes was in the Carling Cup against Southampton on the 13th of September 2014.
Wilshere is a talented player and has proved it on many occasions… when fit. However, he has struggled desperately to maintain fitness through a succession of injuries in the past couple of years. Saturday’s game marked his fifth successive start for the Cherries and his performances have been gradually improving. Playing an entire 90 minutes of football will give him even further incentive.
To give an indication of how much the football landscape has changed since his last full game, Leeds United have hired and fired six managers, Jamie Vardy has gone from a 27-year-old Premier League nobody to Premier League champion, and Cristiano Ronaldo has scored over 100 career goals.
A run of over six months without injury, as Wilshere has just had, is highly encouraging, and should give him plenty of hope that he is about to recuperate the potential he showed when he won PFA young player of the year some seasons.
Maybe it was the fact that he was playing against Tottenham, a team he has never had much affection for, that spurred him on to complete the full 90.
Either way, the news will be welcomed around the Emirates Stadium as while Bournemouth have expressed an interest in making the midfielder’s move a permanent one already, he is very much still an Arsenal player for now.
Mark Townsend, Pundit Arena
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