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Jack Wilshere has spoken of his relief at making his long-awaited seasonal debut for Arsenal.
Wilshere has endured a frustrating few months after sustaining a leg injury in pre-season, but he made his first appearance of the season when he was brought on during the Gunners 0-0 draw at Sunderland on Sunday.
Having turned out for the club's under-21s, Wilshere was delighted to finally return to the first team and he will be hoping to prove his fitness in the final three games of the season in the hope of being included in England's Euro 2016 squad.
"It’s the best feeling. All those late nights and long days in the gym, this is when it really pays off," he told Arsenal Player.
"You can do all the training, you can play for the under-21s to build your fitness up, but what really matters is playing for the first team and getting back on the pitch, so I’m really happy.
"I felt good. In my first under-21s game, I didn’t really feel that great. In the second I felt better and in the third I felt as though I was able to get through 90 minutes and have an impact on the game.
"I spoke with the boss in the week, he felt the same and I travelled to Sunderland. It’s a big week for me in training, getting fitter and sharper. Hopefully next weekend I can get some more game time and go from there.
"I’m not saying that I’m there yet, this is just another step on my way to full recovery. There’s a few games left and after that, hopefully I’ll go away with England to the Euros. It’s an exciting time."