Jack Wilshere plays 65 minutes for Arsenal U21s against Newcastle
By Aidan Magee
Last Updated: 09/04/16 7:20am
Jack Wilshere took a major step towards a first team comeback for Arsenal after completing 65 minutes for the Under-21s.
The England midfielder has not played for Arsenal since appearing as a substitute in last year's FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa at Wembley 11 months ago.
He ruptured his fibula in pre-season training last August but started the Under-21's 3-1 win over Newcastle at The Emirates.
He had a hand in Arsenal's first two goals - scored by Daniel Crowley and Stephy Mavididi inside eight minutes.
Krystian Bielik scored an own goal to give Newcastle hope before Serge Gnabry completed the scoring before the interval with Arsenal's third.
Wilshere, 24, now has seven weeks to prove his match fitness to England manager Roy Hodgson, who announces his squad for Euro 2016 on June 1.
His last competitive action came in England's clash with Slovenia last June when his two goals helped his country to a 3-2 win.
Wilshere started at the Emirates alongside 35-year-old team-mate Tomas Rosicky, who has been out with a thigh injury since late January and is out of contract in the summer.
The Czech international completed 45 minutes and went off at half-time.
Arsene Wenger was forced to defend the prodigious but injury-prone Wilshere after his involvement in a fracas outside a West End nightclub last week was filmed and appeared in a tabloid newspaper.
The Arsenal manager claimed Wilshere was better behaved than both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - but his critics believe it's time he earned the right to be mentioned alongside such illustrious company for his performances on the pitch.
He played a deep-lying role in the first half for the Under-21s and got forward more after the break, when his 20-yard effort missed the right hand post by a couple of yards.
Wilshere has averaged just over 12 and a half Premier League appearances for Arsenal in each of his last five seasons.
He hasn't given up hope of playing a role for England in France this summer.
Wilshere told Arsenal Player: "It felt really good to be back out there playing at the Emirates.
"I'm not ready yet for the first team but it's another step on the road to fitness. It felt good to play in a match, it's totally different to training.
"I want to to go to the Euros and to do that I have to get in the Arsenal team, so I have to show the Arsenal manager and the England manager what I can do."