Midfielder Jack Wilshere has been named to start for Arsenal’s Under-21 side against West Brom at the Hawthorns on Monday.
Wilshere, 20, has not featured for the Gunners since August 2011, when he picked up an ankle injury during a pre-season friendly against the New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup.
The England international suffered further injuries during his rehabilitation and underwent knee surgery in May, but is now closing in on a comeback to first-team football.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the midfielder is back training with the first team and revealed that he hopes Wilshere will play for an hour with the Under-21 side.
However, the Frenchman has also highlighted the need to manage the youngster carefully after such a lengthy spell out of the game and ruled him out of playing in England’s forthcoming games against San Marino and Poland.
“Jack will play on Monday for the (Under-21s),” Wenger said.
“He will play an hour. We have to be patient. I think that (the England games) will be too early for him.
“It is fantastic for him. When you are at that age and are out for such a long time, it is absolutely massive.”