Jack Wilshere believes he is the fittest he has ever been, and admits his injury woes have made him stronger.
The 25-year-old's appearance in the 4-2 Europa League win over BATE Borisov in late September was only the second time the midfielder has played 90 minutes since returning from a serious leg injury that he suffered in April while on loan at Bournemouth.
Wilshere has now entered into the final year of his contract at Arsenal but, with his return to full fitness, the midfielder believes he is nearing his best form.
"I always hear the boss say it is my first five-metre burst, when I receive the ball and to get away from defenders and I feel that’s getting better and better each day," he told Arsenal's official website.
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"I feel like the way to improve that is in games when you’re playing against opposition that want to win and want to win the ball back and you have to be able to keep the ball.
"That’s coming back and my fitness levels, if I’m honest, are probably the best they’ve ever been. I look at my numbers after the game and I’ve been out for four months and I’m not the one who hasn’t run the most.
"Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t run the most, we’ve got a lot of players that do that, but my numbers are good so I’m happy."
Talking about his injury woes over the years, Wilshere admitted he experienced several lonely moments as he worked his way back to fitness but insisted such difficult times had made him a stronger person.
He added: "As you get older your body changes, you pick up injuries, you have to be more careful with certain situations and it makes you stronger as well. I’ve always loved playing football and that’s what I wanted to do.
"Of course there’s been times when it’s been tough, when you’re injured and you wake up in the morning, you think ‘Oh I’ve got to go to training, all the other lads are training, you’ve got to go to the gym’.
"That makes you stronger and it makes you appreciate it more and try and do everything you can to keep fit and keep on the pitch."