'No more additions, we're ready to win EPL': Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

Despite an injury-plagued season, Jack Wilshere is relishing the challenge for first-team spots among the glut of talented Arsenal midfielders next season.
Despite an injury-plagued season, Jack Wilshere is relishing the challenge for first-team spots among the glut of talented Arsenal midfielders next season.PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES
Despite an injury-plagued season, Jack Wilshere is relishing the challenge for first-team spots among the glut of talented Arsenal midfielders next season.
Despite an injury-plagued season, Jack Wilshere is relishing the challenge for first-team spots among the glut of talented Arsenal midfielders next season.PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES

With training tweaks done, Wilshere insists Arsenal can win title next year

Arsenal are 13 points behind leaders Chelsea with five matches to play, and a season which promised so much at the start will finish without a sustained tilt at the English Premier League title.

Certain sections of the Gunners faithful have begun clamouring for more signings in the summer transfer window, while Arsenal legend Thierry Henry recently said that his former team need a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a holding midfielder and a "top, top quality striker" if they want to win the EPL title next year.

But, in a phone interview with The Straits Times yesterday, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere believes the current squad is equipped to challenge for honours next season.

The 23-year-old explained: "We've got Danny Welbeck and Giroud up front, we've got Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Oezil, they're all big players.

"I think we've got enough quality in the squad to push (for the title) next season."

His optimism stems from the Gunners' top form in this calendar year.

With five games remaining, Arsene Wenger's side are poised for their highest league finish (second) since the 2004-05 season, and have won eight of their last nine matches.

The North London club are also in the FA Cup final for the second straight year, and Wilshere said the team's good run is down to two fundamental tweaks on the training ground.

He said: "We've worked on winning the ball higher up the pitch in the opposition's half, especially when we lose the ball in that first five seconds; when you switch around from attack to defence, we've done that really well.

"Another thing we've changed a lot - we're also starting to watch other teams more, work out how they're playing, their key strengths and weaknesses."

The England international also spoke about his injury-plagued season, which has seen him make only seven league starts this term.

Fitness issues meant Wilshere's career has not really taken off, despite showing plenty of promise early on.

As recently as 2011, he was hailed as England's next big hope after announcing his arrival with a majestic performance against Barcelona in the Champions League.

But a series of injuries meant that, despite making his Arsenal debut in 2008, Wilshere has logged more than 20 league starts in a single season on only one occasion.

With Francis Coquelin making the defensive midfield spot his own, Wilshere, who joined the club when he was nine, now faces intense competition for the remaining two spots in Arsenal's three-man midfield.

Rivals for his position include Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

But Wilshere dismisses the notion that he is injury-prone.

He said: "The one thing that's always been with my injuries... it's always been a contact injury, a tackle, there's nothing really much I can do about that.

"Yes, we've got a lot of top players in midfield but it brings out the best in everyone. It makes you train better and be at the level that's required at this club."

Wilshere was speaking at an event to launch the Barclays Asia Trophy which takes place at the Singapore Sports Hub in July.

The British banking and financial services firm is celebrating its 325th anniversary and Singapore's 50th birthday this year.

EPL rivals Everton and Stoke City and a Singapore Select XI make up the tournament's field.

On coming to Asia, Wilshere said: "The most important thing is coming over to see them because we know they love Arsenal.

"When we go over there, we get nothing but love and we're looking forward to it this year."

siangyee@sph.com.sg