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Arsenal Vs Bolton Wanderers, Sat 11 Sep 2010

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Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is fully focused on the job in hand as the Arsenal youngster prepares to let his football grab the headlines again ahead of the visit of Bolton.

England Under-21s coach Stuart Pearce felt the 18-year-old had "taken his eye off the ball" following his arrest and subsequent bail in the wake of a late-night fracas in Kensington, which resulted in Wilshere being left on the bench for the European Championship qualifier in Portugal.

However, the young Gunner helped galvanise England when introduced as a second-half substitute against Lithuania in Colchester on Tuesday afternoon, as the Young Lions booked their place in the play-offs with a 3-0 victory.

Wilshere - who holds the record for Arsenal's youngest first-team appearance in the Premier League - spent a spell on loan at Bolton last season, and is now very much in Wenger's plans.

"I have spoken to him since his arrest and he is focused," said the Gunners boss.

"I believe he is always focused. When he is on the football pitch, he wants the ball and wants to play.

"It could have been a concern of Pearce, but I believe Jack is a happy boy on the football pitch."

Arsenal are currently second in the Barclays Premier League table, having beaten Blackburn before the international break.

However, the Gunners resume without Robin van Persie, injured at Ewood Park, Theo Walcott - sidelined for six weeks after damaging his ankle while away with England - and centre-half Thomas Vermaelen, who picked up an Achilles problem playing for Belgium.

Wenger admits there is little a Premier League manager can do, but keep their fingers crossed and pray for their jet-setting squad to return unscathed.

"It is frustrating, but we have to deal with it," said the Arsenal boss, who will have France winger Samir Nasri available following successful knee surgery.

"Statistically you know when there is an international break, if you get everybody back without injury it is a little miracle.

"Sometimes players go on different pitches in smaller countries with a different way of training, but we know now it is part of being a big club.

"When people play international games, you do not always get them back."

Facing Bolton is now a much different prospect under the management style of Owen Coyle.

Wenger, though, expects a strong challenge at Emirates Stadium, where new signing Sebastien Squillaci is set for a debut in central defence.

He said: "Bolton have a good mixture of a direct game and football on the ground.

"They can be a very dangerous side, they have a good mixture of a technical game and a direct game."

Meanwhile, Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden has his own personal match-day analyst - mum Moira.

She records every game at home in Houston, Texas then gives her son a rating over the phone on his performance.

Holden 25, will get the information first hand as his mum will be in the stand when Bolton face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Holden said: "There is a lot of Premier League coverage in America and my mum records every game.

"She gives me her take after every match on how I have played. I take bits of it on board! She is an avid football fan and obviously an avid fan of her three children.

"It is fantastic she is actually is coming over for the Arsenal game. Hopefully we will get a victory."

Holden is aiming to retain his place in the side in this his first full season at the Reebok Stadium after a short spell at Sunderland earlier in his career.

The United States international then went on to build a fine reputation in Major League Soccer before deciding to try his luck in England again.

Holden, who secured a contract at Bolton after a trial, said: "It was a bit stop start for me last season and I was injured.

"Now I have had a pre-season and the experience of the World Cup I want to make a big impact at Bolton.

"I am feeling 100% physically and really looking forward to building up my fitness, getting some more games and really pushing on."

Manager Coyle will hand a first league start to Hungarian goalkeeper Adam Bogdan as Jussi Jaaskelainen is suspended.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League

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