Captain Jack? Wenger talks up Wilshere leadership qualities
Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is a future Arsenal captain - despite the midfielder only having six months left on his Emirates Stadium contract.
Wilshere took the armband for the 0-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg draw at Chelsea earlier this month and his form has been a positive during a difficult spell for the club.
Persistent ankle problems left the 26-year-old down the pecking order and he spent an underwhelming year on loan at Bournemouth last season.
But now, with Alexis Sanchez poised to head through the exit door and Mesut Ozil's contract also winding down, Arsenal are in talks to retain the England international, who appears vital to their prospects once again.
"I see him here because he is an Arsenal man," Wenger told reporters. "He was here at the age of 10 and I believe as well he's not only been here for a long time but he has some leadership qualities.
"He has a football brain. He is completely focussed on Arsenal. The fact that he has been away and come back ... he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe.
"That is something that is important that he can be one of the leaders in the future.
"Who would question his love and commitment for the club? Nobody. We have to find an agreement that makes him happy and the wish that in the future he remains fit."
Thanks for all the messages and support after last night. Good news is i should be back in a couple of days pic.twitter.com/LDagEVnHmp-- Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) January 11, 2018
Wenger feels Wilshere's injury torment has resulted in his taking a more measured approach to his physical conditioning.
"He is much more patient and mature. He analyses better," he added.
"Before his desire to play was the only thing that mattered. Today he can analyse better. Is he fit or not fit?
"He has a lot of prevention to do and he does that religiously now. Before he was a bit more 'my body can take that' like we all are when we are 20 years old."
Arsenal lie sixth in the Premier League, five points behind fifth-place Tottenham, and host Crystal Palace on Saturday.