Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg back Jack Wilshere's move to Bournemouth
LONDON -- Former Arsenal midfielders Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg have backed Jack Wilshere's decision to go out on loan this season and expect him to prove he should be a starter at the Emirates.
Wilshere joined Bournemouth on a season-long loan deal to revive his career after a series of injuries pushed him down the pecking order at Arsenal.
The midfielder was left out of the England squad by new manager Sam Allardyce after making just two substitute appearances for the Gunners this season, and is hoping to find regular football at the south-coast club.
Pires said he was "a little bit surprised" by the move, but said it could prove the right decision.
"Maybe for him it's a good choice because he needs to play more regularly," Pires said after helping an Arsenal Legends team beat Milan Glorie 4-2 at the Emirates on Saturday in a charity match for The Arsenal Foundation.
"They have a lot of players at Arsenal, especially in midfield. So maybe it's a good transition for him, because he's only on loan. So next season he will come back for Arsenal. But he needs to play."
Ljungberg, who set up Pires for Arsenal's fourth goal as the two "Invincibles" rolled back the years, also said he expects Wilshere to benefit from the change of scenery.
"I think everybody knows that Jack is an amazing talent, an amazing player," Ljungberg said. "I love him. But I think if he can play 38 games for Bournemouth then I think he will be back here playing and starting again.
"I just think he has had bad luck. He plays well for six, seven games, and you think 'Oh, now he's back,' and then he gets injured again. And that's a vicious circle."
Wilshere made his first appearance for Bournemouth in a testimonial game against AC Milan.
The midfielder played the opening 45 minutes at Vitality Stadium alongside Benik Afobe, his former Arsenal teammate, before being substituted at half-time. Bournemouth went on to lose the match 2-1 at the final whistle.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.