ARSENAL'S Jack Wilshere believes his recent injury problems may actually benefit him in the long run.
The 20-year-old missed the whole of last season with niggling ankle and knee problems, which also ruled him out of both Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.
Wilshere is now enjoying life back in the Arsenal first team and, while obviously frustrated by his spell on the sidelines, is philosophical about the impact it has had on him.
"I was at Emirates for every single home match," the midfielder told the Official Arsenal Magazine.
"It was hard at times, because I really wanted to be out there.
"Not just for my own selfish reasons but I wanted to help the team too because we had some difficult periods last season.
"There were a few moments [it was hard to miss out on]. When Thierry (Henry) came back in January, for example.
"He's a legend and I really wanted to play in the same team as him.
"I also would have loved to play in that north London derby in February.
"When I look back now, though, I could probably have done with a break, having played so much the previous season.
"Obviously I didn't want the break to be so long, in fact I didn't want to have a break at all, but if I look back on this in 10 years' time, it might have done me some good in the long run."
Wilshere has made 11 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal since returning in late October, impressing many with his performances.
The England international had previously expressed fears that he may not be the same player he was, but in fact he feels better than ever.
"My body is stronger than it was before," Wilshere said. "I've done a lot of work with Declan Lynch and the other physios here over the past year.
"I've improved my core, improved my leg muscle strength - everything.
"Cesc [Fabregas] used to say to me 'take it easy, don't play too many games'.
"Obviously I didn't want to have a year off, but when I'm 24 or 25 I won't have played as many games as someone like Cesc, and that will help me."