Jack Wilshere is closing in on a return to action for Arsenal after stepping up his recovery from yet another injury.
England midfielder Wilshere has not played since July, after requiring surgery on a hairline fracture to his left fibula.
The 24-year-old faces a race to be back in time to make enough of an impression to earn selection in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016.
“[My recovery is] going well,” he told Arsenal Player.
“I’m back on the pitch and I’m just trying to build my fitness up because everyone knows how tough it is to play in the Premier League. I’m working on it and I’m slowly getting there.
“Sometimes it’s been difficult to stay positive, especially after the injuries that I’ve had which have been frustrating, but as the injury goes, you get closer to full fitness and you see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you start to think about coming back and getting involved in the team.”
Wilshere’s return will be a huge boost for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who is currently without Santi Cazorla, while Tomas Rosicky may never play for the Gunners again after it was revealed the midfielder’s thigh injury was worse than feared.
And Wilshere believes the likes of himself and Cazorla can make the difference required for Arsenal to win the Premier League title.
“We’ve had a strong season and we’re in a position this year where we can really go for it,” he added.
“In the past we’ve struggled around Christmas and before we’ve given ourselves no chance really, but this year we’re [close to the top] with important players coming back. Hopefully they can help us.
“We’ve added a world-class goalkeeper and he’s been massive for us with his experience.
“Apart from that, the team’s the same and I think a big part of [us challenging] is because we’ve been together for a few years and the younger British players have started to mature a bit and that’s really helped.”