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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepts he rushed Jack Wilshere back to action too soon

Updated: Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 11:57 | Comments

Arsenal host Everton tonight in a battle for Champions League qualification
Arsenal host Everton tonight in a battle for Champions League qualification

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Manager Arsene Wenger accepts he pushed Jack Wilshere back into action too quickly - but maintains he will need each and every one of his Arsenal squad if they are to finish in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

Wilshere admitted his anticipated return from the best part of six weeks out offered little in the way of a trademark dynamic drive at the heartbeat of the team as he laboured through an hour against Norwich on Saturday.

The rehabilitation of the all-action England midfielder, 21, from any injury lay-off, the latest a minor ankle problem, is always carefully monitored and makes plenty of headlines in the wake of him being unavailable for both club and country for more than a year as he was forced to sit out the whole of the 2011/2012 campaign.

However, as he prepares his squad for the crucial end-of-season run-in which continues at home to Everton tonight, Wenger maintains he will have to carefully manage all of the options available, with Wilshere likely to be on the bench as fit-again Tomas Rosicky comes into the starting XI.

"We play again on Saturday, so it is important to make the right decisions and find the right balance in the team because all these players are super quality," said Wenger, whose side moved up to third on Sunday.

"You must keep the spirit and overall focus of everybody, that is the most important thing."

"Jack has been out for six weeks, so maybe it was a bit too rushed what I did" - Arsene Wenger

Wenger insists the gamble on Wilshere's fitness is one he will not take again.

"I rushed Jack back a bit. He was not completely ready," Wenger said on Arsenal Player.

"How careful have I to be? To listen well to the medical advice and that is what I have to do, use him when everything is all right and listen to him as well, how he feels.

"Jack has been out for six weeks, so maybe it was a bit too rushed what I did.

"I will get advice from the medical department and how he feels as well and as well use my experience and the fact I know him very well.

"He practices with me since he was 16, so I know quite well how his body responds to things."

Wilshere, meanwhile, accepts he probably needs a bit more time to fire on all cylinders again.

"I know it was only six weeks, but you still lose your match sharpness and it takes a few games to come," Wilshere said.

"It was frustrating, because I was flying just before I got injured in March. I felt good, confident, and then picked up another injury.

"Things then drag a little and you lose your sharpness, but this time it wasn't anything like as long as the one before, so hopefully this time I can get it back more quickly.

"I needed that game on Saturday - you always need your first one out of the way.

"I wasn't great, I know it myself, I am better than that, but you need just to get that first game in so that your sharpness and understanding come back."

Team news

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) should return but goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is a major doubt because of a rib injury.

Centre-back Per Mertesacker returns from a one-match suspension against Norwich, so captain Thomas Vermaelen could again be on the bench while Nacho Monreal is expected to come in at left-back after being rested.

Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are both pressing for a recall after coming off the bench against Norwich, but midfielder Abou Diaby (knee) is a long-term absentee.

Provisional Squad: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Monreal, Cazorla, Ramsey, Gervinho, Rosicky, Arteta, Giroud, Fabianski, Mertesacker, Walcott, Wilshere, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Mannone.

Everton manager David Moyes will assess a few knocks and bruises.

The squad came through Saturday's victory over QPR without any significant injuries but the Toffees boss needs to assess their overall fitness for the midweek game.

Defender Tony Hibbert was set to continue his comeback from calf surgery by playing for the under-21s yesterday.

Provisional squad: Howard, Baines, Coleman, Distin, Jagielka, Mirallas, Gibson, Fellaini, Pienaar, Osman, Anichebe, Jelavic, Naismith, Heitinga, Oviedo, Barkley, Hitzlsperger, Mucha.

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