Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere admits he's been surprised by his rapid improvement since returning from a 16-month injury lay-off last month.
The 20-year-old said he feared for his career during a long battle to overcome ankle and knee injuries, forcing him to question whether he would ever regain the sort of form that earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2011.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger always kept faith in Wilshere as he embarked on the long road to recovery, saying the Emirates Stadium starlet had youth on his side, in his continued rehabilitation.
"I'm quite surprised actually," said Wilshere. "When I first played in the U21s, I was really rusty, and I think it was clear for everyone to see.
"Everyone was just being nice to me saying 'you played well'. Now I'm feeling better and better as every game goes on.
"There's no hiding place when you're playing at the Emirates, at Old Trafford and you're in front of everyone. You have to be at a certain standard so you don't let your team-mates and your fans down."
Wilshere has now started three senior Arsenal games since making his comeback for the development side, but missed last weekend's 3-3 draw with Fulham following his red card in the 2-1 defeat against Manchester United.
However, England manager Roy Hodgson had seen enough to hand the Gunners star an immediate recall to the international set-up for tonight's friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg, despite Wenger's reservations.
It marks a fast-track return for a player who has been out of the game for so long, but Wilshere is confident he is both physically and mentally ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
"Mentally it has been tough because you question yourself all the time," he added. "You go to the Emirates, you watch games and you think 'Has it got quicker? I don't remember it being this quick. Can I get back to this level that I was at before?'
"But I feel good now and hopefully, with a few more games, I can get back to my best."
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