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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Jack Wilshere’s best position is higher up the pitch, rather than in a deeper midfield role, putting him in direct competition with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. The 25-year-old has returned to full fitness and is forcing his way back into the first-team reckoning at the Emirates after a largely unsuccessful loan spell at Bournemouth last season. But Arsenal’s change of formation to a 3-4-3 does not really suit Wilshere’s style, meaning Wenger now sees his best route into the starting XI being in one of the more advanced roles currently occupied by Ozil and Sanchez.
‘In my head, he’s more a little bit higher up [the field]. I see him more a player who can affect the game in the final third than a player who is a box-to-box player,’ Wenger said ahead of taking on Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday. ‘He’s a little bit in conflict in this position with Ozil and Sanchez. I believe he can as well play in midfield in a 4-2-3-1, he can play midfield in a 4-3-3. In the system we play, I see him a bit more advanced.’
Wenger has generally favoured a midfield partnership of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka this season, with Wilshere perhaps lacking the athleticism and dynamism to play that role in the current 3-4-3 formation they use. Wenger has nevertheless been full of praise for the revitalised Wilshere recently, though, even calling on Gareth Southgate to call him back up to the England national team.