Swansea City defender Kyle Bartley believes former club Arsenal missed Jack Wilshere “an awful lot” during his long-term injury lay-off.
The two sides are due to meet in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, and the full-back is wary of Wilshere’s return to the side, insisting that his presence has improved the Gunners’ recent on-field displays.
“I still speak to the likes of Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Emmanuel Frimpong and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, all players that I got on well with during my time there,” Bartley told Swansea’s matchday programme.
“I played alongside Jack for the majority of my time at the club and he is a fantastic player. I’m glad he’s back to full fitness and you can tell from how Arsenal are playing now that they have missed him an awful lot.”
Bartley left the Emirates Stadium in the summer after failing to break into the first team, but injury problems have restricted the 21-year old to just one appearance for Swansea this season, although he is hoping for the chance to impress on Sunday.
“I don’t know what the manager’s thoughts are, but obviously there are a lot of fixtures in a short space of time and I’m sure the squad will be rotated,” he added.
“But if I get the chance, my heart is with Swansea and my head is fully focused on us getting a good result. As soon as that whistle goes my mind would be on the job in hand and my team winning the game.
“I’m an intelligent person and I don’t think I deserve a chance yet because the lads have been doing so well. So I just have to be patient and wait for an opportunity to show everyone what I can do.
“I spoke to a few of the lads at Arsenal and they are all looking forward to the game and hoping I’m involved as well.”