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O'Neill says he can see shades of Brady in Wilshere

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill will send his players into battle with Arsenal today warning them to beware a man in whom he has seen shades of Liam Brady.

Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere starred in England's 2-1 friendly victory over Brazil in midweek to win rave reviews, and his performance was not lost on the Derryman.

Wilshere has gone from strength to strength since emerging from a 14-month injury nightmare, and O'Neill holds him in the highest regard. He said: "He's come on in leaps and bounds. He's come back from the injury and he's certainly added another dimension to his game.

"He's got that little burst of pace which kind of reminds me of Liam Brady – and if he ends up having the same career as Liam Brady, he will be pretty sensational."

Brady, of course, was responsible for Wilshere's early education in the game in his role as Arsenal's head of youth development, and manager Arsene Wenger will be thrilled if he matches the achievements of the former Republic of Ireland international, who graced the turf at Highbury for seven years before heading for Italy and Juventus.


The Gunners will arrive on Wearside sitting in sixth place in the Premier League table, four points adrift of arch-rivals Tottenham in fourth, and hoping to repeat their victory at the Stadium of Light last season, which was secured by a late strike by loan signing Thierry Henry.

They returned a week later and lost an FA Cup fifth-round tie 2-0, but O'Neill insists neither game will be relevant this time around.

He said: "They have some really, really talented young players now coming to the fore – Wilshere, the improvement in his game now is there for all to see.

"They are just very, very fine players and will cause us problems."

O'Neill hopes to welcome back defender Carlos Cuellar from a hamstring problem, but is likely to be without Ireland winger James McClean, who damaged an ankle in the 2-0 friendly victory over Poland on Wednesday night.