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Wilshere has Arsenal v Spurs rivalry in his heart, says boss

Jack Wilshere (left) in action for England against Sweden. Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire Jack Wilshere (left) in action for England against Sweden. Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Friday, November 16, 2012
2:20 PM

The north London derby is in the heart of Jack Wilshere, according to Arsene Wenger.

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The 20-year-old, who made his first England appearance in over a year with a substitute’s cameo in Sweden on Wednesday, returns to the Arsenal squad after serving a one-match suspension for the red card he received at Manchester United.

It could see the midfielder step right into one of the most hotly contested local derbies in Britain, when the Gunners host Tottenham, but the Gunners boss says Wilshere will be ready.

“Jack arrived here are the age of nine years old and that means this game is in his heart and his brain for the whole season, every year,” Wenger said, adding: “From the youth teams up, the rivalry exists.”

Wenger was concerned about the youngster’s England call-up but national boss Roy Hodgson allayed those fears prior to the 4-2 defeat in Stockholm, saying Wilshere would not be thrown in the deep end.

True to his word, the midfielder was given a run out for the last 30 minutes and asked if he was satisfied with that, Wenger said: “Yes, [I’m happy].

“He had not played in 17 months and the fact that he got over the first three or four games without any setback is very important.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.