Bournemouth’s on-loan Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere can re-establish himself as one of the best in the Premier League, according to long-time admirer Pep Guardiola.
England international Wilshere joined Bournemouth on a season-long loan after a prolonged injury nightmare left him down the pecking order at his boyhood club.
The 25-year-old’s Arsenal contract is up at the end of next season and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is yet to consider a permanent switch, despite his admiration for the player
A spate of fitness problems and Granit Xhaka’s four-match ban saw Arsene Wenger admit he could have done with Wilshere over recent weeks, although Arsenal’s considerable midfield reserves add to the sense of a once promising talent left in limbo.
Guardiola takes Manchester City to the Vitality Stadium on Monday, with the image of a youthful Wilshere going toe-to-toe with his great Barcelona side in 2011 still stamped on his memory.
Arsenal claimed a 2-1 first-leg advantage before a Lionel Messi inspired Barca saw them off in the last-16 tie.
“We played in the Champions League against that Arsenal team and it was a massive impression he made,” Guardiola said of Wilshere. “He arrived at a high level.
“I know the problem with Jack Wilshere is just one – the injuries. If he can be a bit lucky to play regularly for one season he is going to be back as one of the best midfielders in England, by far.
“He has quality, is smart, has the special quality when he has the ball to dribble past holding midfielders and attack the central defenders.
“It is not easy to do that – it is a little bit like [Mousa] Dembele from Tottenham. They have this quality to pass, pass, pass and then immediately go for 10 metres on the ball. That destroys all the defensive structures in the world.
“He has this quality. I am happy as a football fan he is back and playing regularly. Hopefully on Monday he can play.
“I think in the situation Arsenal have right now, if he was fit, he would be playing.”
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