Arsenal midfielder claims the summer capture of Petr Cech has been a crucial factor in the Gunners’ transformation from nearly men to genuine title contenders.
The England international believes the former Chelsea stopper’s arrival has provided a massive boost to Arsene Wenger’s squad in their bid to go all the way in this season’s Premier League title race.
Wilshere told the official club website: “We’ve added a world-class goalkeeper and he’s been massive for us with his experience.”
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The 24-year-old has also commended the Gunners’ local youngsters for rising to the challenge this campaign and helping the side push for their first league trophy in more than a decade.
“Apart from that, the team’s the same and I think a big part of [us challenging] is because we’ve been together for a few years and the younger British players have started to mature a bit and that’s really helped.”
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Wilshere has not featured for the north London side in six months having suffering a hairline crack to his left fibula during training for the Community Shield clash with Chelsea earlier this season.
His absence has not made a profound impact on the quality of the Arsenal midfield thanks to the remarkably consistent form of Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Wilshere is likely to have a hard time trying to reclaim his place in a side boasting the highest pass accuracy and average short passes per game in the division though he is hopeful of making a contribution to this year’s title race once he returns from his extensive layoff.
“[My recovery is] going well. I’m back on the pitch and I’m just trying to build my fitness up because everyone knows how tough it is to play in the Premier League. I’m working on it and I’m slowly getting there.
"Sometimes it’s been difficult to stay positive, especially after the injuries that I’ve had which have been frustrating, but as the injury goes, you get closer to full fitness and you see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you start to think about coming back and getting involved in the team."
February presents a series of tough fixtures for Wenger and his men with home games against Leicester and Barcelona followed up by a trip to Manchester United later in the month.
As it stands, the Gunners are five points off the pace behind Claudio Ranieri’s side and it remains to be seen whether Wilshere will play any part in closing the gap before the 2015/16 campaign wraps up.
Is Wilshere still an important player for Arsenal?