Ramsey eager for Wilshere return

Ramsey eager for Wilshere return

Published Jan. 12, 2012 1:16 p.m. ET

Wilshere has yet to feature this season after a niggling ankle problem required surgery.

However, the 20-year-old is expected to now step up his rehabilitation ahead of a projected comeback next month.

"Jack is a great player for us; he had a really good season last year. It's only a good thing to have competition for places," Wales captain Ramsey told a webchat for Chinese fans on the official Arsenal website.

"It's been quite weird because [initially] I was playing, so Jack went out on loan, then I got injured, so Jack played.


"We haven't really had a chance to play together yet in the league. It will be good to have the competition."

The Gunners head to Swansea on Sunday looking to get their drive towards the top four of the Premier League back on track following defeat at Fulham.

Confidence is high in the Arsenal squad, boosted by the return of former captain Thierry Henry on a short-term loan deal as he came off the bench to win Monday night's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Leeds.

Wales skipper Ramsey, 21, has grabbed his chance this season, following the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and Wilshere's unfortunate ankle problem, to form a strong partnership alongside new recruit Mikel Arteta and Cameroon international Alex Song.

Ramsey believes that understanding can only develop as the season heads towards its conclusion.

"It has definitely grown as the season has gone on," he said.

"We have got a better understanding of each other and that is starting to show with the assists and the chances created.

"It is only going to get stronger as the season goes on, too."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he is unsure whether to pair Henry and captain Robin van Persie from the start at Liberty Stadium.

The Dutchman - who netted 35 Premier League goals in 2011, just one short of the record - was given some extra time off last week for a family break in Dubai, where he met Diego Maradona.

Van Persie hopes it will see him come back refreshed and ready to spearhead Arsenal's drive towards the top four.

"The good thing is that we have been able to have a little break over the last few days, which is always welcome at this time of year," van Persie said.

"I have been able to recharge the batteries a little bit, get refreshed and ready to go again. I'm looking forward to the year."

Arsenal should have Switzerland international Johan Djourou available again following suspension after his red card at Fulham, which will be a welcome boost given the injuries in defence - exacerbated by a hamstring tear for Francis Coquelin against Leeds.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is expected to move for cover at full-back, with both Wayne Bridge, now surplus to requirements at Manchester City, and Lyon's Aly Cissokho reported targets.

Out-of-favour Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou, currently away at the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast, is also said to be on Wenger's radar again.