Jack Wilshere says competition for places at Arsenal has never been so fierce.
The England midfielder has been out of first-team action since November but returned for the under-21s against Stoke City on Tuesday alongside Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby.
Arsène Wenger revealed the three midfielders are available for Saturday’s game at Burnley, but they face tough competition from Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla.
“When I first broke in there was Cesc Fabregas, there was Diaby, Denilson and Alex Song,” Wilshere told Arsenal Player.
“We’ve always had real quality in that position but now I’d say there are more of my style of players fighting for that position. You can name four or five attacking midfielders who are world-class.
“I’ve played with Francis since I was 15 or 16 so we know each other really well. He didn’t get a look in before that but I always knew that once he got his chance he would deliver, and he gets better and better as each game goes on.
“I’ve played with Mikel for a couple of years now and I played against him [at Everton] when I was at Bolton on loan and he was the best player on the pitch. He brings that experience, reads the game really well, breaks up play and everyone knows what quality he has on the ball.
“[Aaron’s] main attribute is his energy, his leadership, he wants to drive the team forward and he can score goals. You look at the best midfielders in the world over the last few years like Lampard and Gerrard, who can score goals, and he’s got that.
“With Santi it’s easy to play because he understands the game so well. If I come inside, he’ll go outside and we’ll link up. Now he’s got more responsibility in the centre of midfield and he’s done brilliantly there over the last few months. He’s probably the easiest player to play with.”