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Jack Wilshere looking good ahead of Arsenal return, Arsene Wenger says on eve of Europa League opener

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Arsene Wenger says Jack Wilshere will have opportunities to play for Arsenal this season, starting with the Europa League match against Cologne

Jack Wilshere is hitting form in training as he prepares for the chance to resurrect his Arsenal career, according to Arsene Wenger.

Wilshere could make his first Gunners appearance in more than a year on Thursday night, with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil rested and Francis Coquelin injured for Cologne's Europa League visit.

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Alexis Sanchez and Wilshere trained with Arsenal's matchday squad on Wednesday

The England midfielder opted to join Bournemouth on loan last season despite featuring in two of Arsenal's first three Premier League games, and his recovery from a broken leg held him back at the start of pre-season this summer.

But the latest injury of a stop-start career is behind him, and Wenger has been encouraged by Wilshere's progress at London Colney.

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Speaking ahead of the Cologne game he said: "There was always a huge pressure on him to come back as quickly as possible and to expect a lot.

"He's on a good way in training. He's getting stronger and stronger every day, and that's what we want from him.

"He was injured at the start of the season from last season, so he was a bit behind the other players but he's getting better and better .

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Jack Wilshere keeps his eye on the ball during a training session at London Colney on September 8, 2017
Image: Wilshere could feature for Arsenal against Cologne in the Europa League

"Every game is an opportunity for him and this season's a good opportunity for him as well."

Asked whether Wilshere will start against the Germans, he said: "I don't give the team out today - I will give it out tomorrow."

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Watch highlights of Arsenal's 3-0 Premier League home win over Bournemouth

Arsenal have not begun a season outside the Champions League since 1997 and now face the Thursday-Sunday pattern of games which other managers have bemoaned in the past.

A trip to Chelsea on Super Sunday is hardly an ideal start for their first follow-up fixture, but Wenger said: "When you play Wednesday-Saturday it's similar to Thursday-Sunday.

"We played Wednesday night in Barcelona and Saturday morning at Everton [in March 2016] and we won. You have to not get caught in your mind with preconceived ideas. In three days you can recover."

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