Arsenal captain tips starlet to be 'one of world's best'

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Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen has backed teammate Jack Wilshere to develop into 'one of the best midfielders in the world.'

The England international returned to the Arsenal first-team for the first time in 542 days to help the Gunners beat QPR 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Wilshere has spent more than a year out with a succession of ankle, knee and foot injuries, but Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen has backed the returning star to fulfil his potential and become one of the world's best.

"He's an amazing player," Vermaelen told "I think he can be one of the best midfielders in the world because what he did in his first year was great.

"And you could see he looked sharp. In midfield he was on the ball a lot and he can only get better in the following games and he can grow."

The weekend's match also saw France international Bacary Sagna return to the Gunners first team. The right-back has not featured at all this season, after breaking his leg in the final home match of last season against Norwich City.

Wilshere played 67 minutes on Saturday - his first competitive appearance since May 2011- but the England international showed no ill effects.

Arsenal face Reading in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, and Arsene Wenger could use the fixture to continue to manage Wilshere and Sagna's recuperation.

The Gunners face a difficult trip to Manchester United next weekend, before they resume Champions League action the week after.

Thomas Vermaelen
Premier League
Jack Wilshere
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