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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Wenger wants Jack Wilshere to step up

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes this is a "big season" for Jack Wilshere and has challenged the midfielder to put his fitness problems behind him.

- Mangan: Five things we learned from the Emirates Cup

Wilshere, 22, has struggled with injuries for some time and was sidelined last term for two months with a broken foot.

Wenger has since brought in Germany's World Cup fitness coach Shad Forsythe, and he is hopeful that this will help the England international finally reach his potential.

"At the top level you need consistent presence," he told The Sun. "It does not work anymore when you rest for three weeks and then you are fit again -- in and out is finished today.

"This is a big season for Jack but he is in his best preseason shape for three years.

"He is rid of his ankle problems and if he can maintain that I think he will have a great season. But he needs games and I agree that this is a very important season for him."

Forsythe joined up with the Arsenal squad for the first time at last week's Austrian training camp, having spent 10 years working with the Germany national team.

The 40-year-old American is responsible for monitoring postmatch recovery, while, according to The Sun, he will introduce a regime of exercise, massage and hot and cold baths for players on their days off.

Forsythe was appointed to work with fitness coach Tony Colbert after Wenger ordered a review into last season's injury problems.

The likes of Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Vermaelen and Yaya Sanogo were all sidelined for extended periods, and Wenger feels the Gunners could have won the title without the injuries.

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