Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere played a full 90 minutes for the first time in over 17 months in a training ground friendly against Chelsea today.
Gunners full-back Bacary Sagna also featured in the game as both players moved a step closer to a return to full fitness.
Wilshere has now played in three fixtures including today’s game as he steps up his efforts to play competitive football for the first time since 2011.
The midfielder picked up an ankle injury while on international duty with England back in June last year, and has since suffered a series of frustrating setbacks that have kept him out of the game.
Reports this week claim Wilshere could make his return to Arsenal’s senior side against Reading in the Capital One Cup in two weeks time, while it has also been claimed he could be on the bench for the Gunners Premier League tie against Norwich this weekend.
Sagna, who also played his first full 90 minute game since he broke his leg against Norwich last season, could make his comeback in the same game.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has previously expressed caution over rushing Wilshere back into action, and said earlier this month that he will not put a time frame on his return.
"Because of his talent you are always pushed in a situation where you would like to rush him back, we have to resist that," Wenger said.
"Jack needs a few games, progressive build-up to get his body used to competition again. When you have been out for 14 months, it takes a long time to find your sharpness. You cannot rush it."
Andrey Arshavin, Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong all featured in an experienced looking Arsenal against a young Chelsea side, who ran out 2-0 winners in the specially arranged fixture.
John Terry featured for the Stamford Bridge club, who secured the victory thanks to goals from Billy Clifford and Islam Feruz.