Wilshere hopes to return for Milan Euro showdown

ARSENAL midfielder Jack Wilshere has given his manager Arsene Wenger a timely boost by stepping up his rehabilitation from the stress fracture to his right ankle which has kept him out of action since pre-season.

The 20-year-old is due to return to full training next week and is hopeful of being in contention to feature in the first leg of his side’s Champions League last 16 clash against AC Milan in the San Siro on 15 February.

The news coincides with an upbeat bulletin on the progress of Thomas Vermaelen, who is expected to return against Manchester United on Sunday. The Belgian defender limped out of Arsenal’s victory against QPR on New Year’s Eve and missed the subsequent Premier League defeats against Fulham and Swansea.

Wenger is also hopeful that loan signing Thierry Henry and Spaniard Mikel Arteta can overcome minor calf problems in time to face the champions at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners were obliterated at Old Trafford 8-2 back in August and will be looking to reignite their quest for a top four finish.

The game against United will, however, come too soon for Wilshere, who hasn’t featured since he was taken off after seven minutes of the friendly against the New York Red Bulls in July.