Jack Wilshere admits he is relishing the chance to get out of his comfort zone on loan at Bournemouth.
Wilshere played his first 90 minutes since September 2014 on Saturday as the Cherries held high-flying Tottenham to a goalless draw – a game in which the England international showed glimpses of his class, but still frustrated.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has introduced Wilshere gradually since signing him on loan from Arsenal in the summer, a move aimed at steering the midfielder’s injury-ridden career back on track.
The 24-year-old has made six appearances so far and admits trading the Gunners for the south coast has been a revitalising experience.
“I would agree it’s good to get out of your comfort zone,” Wilshere said.
“Sometimes when you’re at a top club and you’ve been at a top club your whole career and you’re playing week in week out, it is easy to get into that comfort zone.
“That is something coaches and managers drum into you and for me to come down here and taste a different side of the Premier League where you have to fight for everything, fight for every point and work as a team it is definitely out of my comfort zone.
“But the lads and manager have been great for me and I’m looking forward to the season.”
Arsene Wenger has made clear he still sees a long-term future for Wilshere at Arsenal but he played only three games for them last season after suffering a hairline fracture early in the campaign.
Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp even told Sky Sports on Saturday he felt Wilshere’s Arsenal career was over.
“I don’t know where he got that from,” Wilshere said. “I’ve not really thought about that so how other people can comment on it…listen, he’s entitled to his opinion.
“If he doesn’t see me going back to Arsenal then that’s up to him but I haven’t thought about that.”
Wilshere showed glimpses of his supreme talent at the Vitality Stadium but he struggled for his usual incision in the final third. He insists regaining match fitness remains the key.
“It’s a long time not to play 90 minutes and when you play game by game you start to get your confidence back and try more things,” Wilshere said.
“I feel like I’m getting my first five yards of power back and when I have that I can do more things with the ball. I’m not saying I am there yet but I’m feeling better and better.”
Wilshere may also have one eye on a return to the England squad, which will be picked ahead of games against Spain and Scotland next month.
He has not yet spoken to interim manager Gareth Southgate, however, and says for now he wants to focus purely on his club form.
“No I’m not really thinking about England,” Wilshere said.
“I think I have got to concentrate on myself, playing here, playing 90 minutes and getting back to my best and then I can start thinking about that.”