It was great to see Jack Wilshere back in action again for the Under 21 side last night (Monday) albeit in a 2-1 defeat to West Brom.
It was another small step on the road to a first team return for Jack but it was capped with a quite superb goal for the young Gunners in the 51st minute.
The 24-year-old midfielder pulled a lofted ball out of the air in one stride and fired into the net in the next – a very tidy finish which belied his 10 months away from the game.
Jack was also unlucky to see a low shot from the edge of the box well saved by the West Brom keeper Alex Palmer in the dying stages.
All said and done, it was another 90 minutes in the bank for the England international, a goal and a decent performance made it that much better.
I saw some clamour today, in light of his exploits, for Jack to immediately be restored to the starting line-up for the match against West Brom’s senior side in the Premier League on Thursday, but that is simply madness.
I can understand why people would want him returned to the team – his passion and his commitment to the cause is one of the many things currently missing from the team at the moment.
But is it really worth the risk? Not for me.
He needs much more game time, more training, and more match fitness, and to take a gamble with him at this stage of the season, with nothing really left to play for, would seem a risk too far.
If he manages another game or two for the Under 21s, together with a few more weeks in training, then perhaps he could be thrown in for 15-20 minutes in the last two games of the season – providing we don’t find ourselves unceremoniously dumped out of the top four and desperate for a result to get us back in.
There again, who knows, perhaps a bit more of Jack in the side might give fans a reason to turn up at the Emirates in the last few games on the season.
On Thursday, as it stands, there is set to be a significant number of seats unfilled and that is going to be a real shame to see, and a real sign of how bad things have become.
Maybe Jack can be a small chink of light in the gathering darkness.