Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Jack Wilshere will be in the squad for this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final clash against Reading at Wembley, reports the Mirror.
Wilshere will return from a persistent ankle injury which has seen him sidelined for almost five months.
The Gunners midfielder has played in three U-21 matches over the past few weeks and is now set for a first senior team appearance since sustaining an injury during the loss to Manchester United earlier in the season - which later required surgery.
Wenger also confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny will return to the team after he lost the number one spot to Colombian keeper David Ospina. Although, Wenger believes competition for a starting place between the two keepers is important:
"This season he played at Manchester United, it's important that the two keepers get competition."
It's not just the goalkeeper spot that is in fierce competition to hold, as the current Arsenal squad have beaten their last eight consecutive opponents - a feat last managed by the Invincibles of 2004.
However, Wilshere believes that competing for starting places can only be a good thing for the team:
“We have added real quality, world-class players to the squad and the main thing here is the team ethic.
“You can see that we have a great atmosphere around, everyone wants to work for one another and we go into every game knowing we can create chances if we stay strong defensively and win the ball higher up.”
Arsenal will be defending their FA Cup winning title in good form, however against Reading, Gunners defender Per Mertesacker insists that the team cannot afford to become complacent:
“We felt [pressure] last season a lot, because no one expected us to lose, for Wigan to go through and that will be the case again,” the German said on Arsenal Player.
“We are more prepared, but you are never perfectly prepared.
“There will be different situations and the team will have to grow in the match again, we will have to face the expectations and pressure.
“But with our level of confidence and with the team in good shape at the moment, I am very confident.
“The energy is really great in the team, we have a fantastic squad and the most important thing is that feeling.”