Wed, 07 Nov 2012 16:05:00 – Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere believes his one-match ban may actually be beneficial as he continues his return from long-term injury.
Wilshere played his first 90 minutes for the first team on Tuesday night in Germany, where the Gunners squandered a two-goal advantage to draw 2-2 with Schalke in the Champions League.
It was his third game in 11 days after missing the whole of last season with niggling ankle and knee problems, which ruled him out of both Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.
The England international will have to wait for his fourth appearance as he misses Saturday's clash with Fulham after being sent off in last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United - something the midfielder is trying to see in a positive light.
"I am gutted to miss Fulham after being out for so long," Wilshere said.
"It's disappointing to miss any game but if I think about it another way, maybe it will be good for me to have a little break and come back for the Tottenham game [a week later].
"It is difficult [to be out for so long] for any player and especially for me - I was 19 and just breaking into the footballing world and coming into the team.
"I'd had a good season and was looking to push on next season.
"To have a setback like that was heartbreaking but now I'm back. I am still doing my maintenance work in the gym and am keeping fit.
"Hopefully now I can keep fit and push on. It [the original ankle injury] was serious, of course.
"It kept me out for so long but it wasn't the result of a bad tackle or anything where it was career threatening. It was just something that happened over time.
"I knew it would take time to heal and then I suffered a few setbacks.
"Obviously you then question yourself and say, 'Am I going to come back to the level that I was at before?' Hopefully, now I can get back to training well.
"Every day I need to work hard and get back up to the level I was at.
"Last night, I felt better than I did over the weekend and the weekend before that, so I am feeling better after each game.
"It's a long season, so I need to take it easy a bit but I am looking forward."
Tuesday night's draw in Germany came courtesy of first-half goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.
The former was making his first start in the Premier or Champions League since late August - a period out of the team that coincided with contract talks stalling.
Walcott's current deal expires at the end of the season and Wilshere hopes he stays on at the Emirates Stadium.
"Theo has been great," he said. "His future is down to him and the boss to sort out.
"I hope he does sign. He has been great for us. He's an English lad and great to have around."