Jack Wilshere 'very' close to Arsenal comeback ...returns to full training

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is set to hand Arsene Wenger a massive lift by returning to full training this week.

The 20-year-old has been plagued by ankle, foot and knee problems and has not played since August 2011. But the England player is now close to putting his injury problems behind him by taking this significant step on his road to recovery.

Wilshere has started ball work again and the Gunners academy graduate is expected to jump the next hurdle in his rehabilitation by rejoining his first-team colleagues for training at the club's London Colney HQ by the end of the week.

Wilshere could now play in either a specially arranged, training ground friendly or the Gunners Under-21 side's fixture against West Bromwich on October 1 or Reading seven days later as the club look to give him much-needed game time.

Despite Wilshere's promising progress, manager Wenger will continue to take a cautious approach towards the return of his influential midfielder.

The youngster has been pencilled in for a return to first-team action towards the end of next month and the club seem determined to resist any temptation to rush Wilshere back before then.

Even though Alex Song left for Barcelona, Wenger still has an abundance of central-midfield options with Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin all vying for first-team starts.

The club's once lengthy injury list is now starting to clear up, with Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Frimpong and Bacary Sagna – in addition to Wilshere – all close to first-team returns.