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Football | Barclays Premier League

Wilshere gunning for Sunderland win



Jack Wilshere has insisted there is more to come after the Arsenal midfielder showed signs he is back to his best in England's midweek international friendly win over Brazil.

Wilshere's performance in Wednesday's 2-1 victory at Wembley – England's first win over five-times world champions Brazil in 23 years – drew widespread praise from teammates and pundits alike.

Now the 21-year-old midfielder will look to help Arsenal take all three points away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, as the visitors try to reclaim a place in the top four of the Premier League.

Wilshere spent 17 months on the sidelines with ankle and knee injuries but since returning to action in November has re-established himself as Arsenal's most influential player.

The Times proclaimed Wilshere "more Brazilian than the Brazilians" after his latest England display but he maintained there was room for improvement.

"I feel my form is getting better and better," he said. "I am never happy with where I am. I always try to improve and work hard in training.

"I always want to keep my performances up for my club and then whenever I get called up for England."

Theo Walcott's performance against Brazil will also have pleased Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as his side attempt to close the four-point gap on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

But while Wilshere and Walcott offer promise going forward, the manager's immediate priority is in defence with centre-back Laurent Koscielny suffering a calf problem in France's friendly defeat by Germany and skipper Thomas Vermaelen struggling with an ankle problem.

Sebastien Squillaci and youngster Ignasi Miquel are on standby to partner Per Mertesacker in central defence while Nacho Monreal will again deputise for the injured Kieran Gibbs.

Vermaelen, though, believes Wenger's side is beginning to find their form.

"You could see it from the start of the season," the Belgium international told Arsenal's website.

"This team has a lot of potential. It's a case of everybody staying fit."

He added: Sunderland away is always a tough game. I think we did well in the first game of the season at home against Sunderland. We couldn't score but we were the better team and had the better chances."

After beating defending champions Manchester City and drawing with Liverpool at home this season, Sunderland are confident they can continue their impressive record at the Stadium of Light against the Premier League's elite.

The mid-table Black Cats are keen to bounce back following last week's defeat at Reading, and their England midfielder Adam Johnson said: "We've beaten City at home this season, and we've had a couple of good results and good performances against the top teams.

"When you play against the top teams, it's often the case that players raise their game because if not, you know these teams will punish you. You can't lose concentration for a second."

Sunderland knocked the north London club out of the FA Cup on Wearside last season, and Martin O'Neill's men will try to exploit the visitors' attacking instincts in the hope of carving out another victory in front of an expected 40 000-plus crowd.

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