Jack Wilshere is ready to live up to Arsenal and England's expectations as his long-awaited return from injury gradually gathers momentum.
The 20-year-old midfielder was this week named in Roy Hodgson's England squad despite having made just three first-team appearances for his club since his return from a 17-month absence with ankle injuries. One of those games, against Manchester United, saw Wilshere pick up two yellow cards and he will miss Saturday's clash with Fulham as a result.
But from a fitness point of view he is pleased with his progress, and he told the Daily Mail: "I can feel myself getting better and better every game. The first hit is always important. It's more for your head than anything else."
With Arsenal still enduring a trophy drought and England's performances patchy of late, hopes are being pinned on Wilshere's return to peak form and fitness.
The youngster is confident he can deliver - but insists he is not his country's only hope.
"You're like (Lionel) Messi when you're injured, aren't you?" he said. "People saying 'Jack this, Jack that, he's the only one with technique'.
"That's fine, that's part and parcel of football. It doesn't fill me with fear. It's nice to read when you're coming back.
"(But) I think if you look a lot deeper you can find players who can compete with the best in the world. It bodes well for the future. Even the centre-backs coming through - Chris Smalling is good on the ball, Phil Jones can play in midfield."
As for club football, Wilshere cannot see himself being tempted to follow the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri out of the Emirates Stadium and stated his wish to one day be talked of in the same way as club legends such as Tony Adams.
He said: "I've been at this club 10 years and to come through the academy at Hale End and break into the first team is a great story. It's a dream. To have my family 20 minutes from the training ground and an hour from the stadium is perfect for me. Cesc wanted to go home (to Barcelona). Home to me is Arsenal."
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