Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits it seemed like Jack Wilshere had spent "an eternity" on the sidelines after the England midfielder finally returned to training on Thursday.
Wilshere did not feature at all for the Gunners last season because of a niggling ankle problem which also ruled him out of contention for Euro 2012. However, the 20-year-old has stepped up his rehabilitation, joining up with the first-team squad training session ahead of the weekend's Barclays Premier League trip to Manchester City.
Speaking to the club's official website, www.arsenal.com, Wenger said: "We are so pleased that Jack is back in full training. It has been 14 months and that is a long time for someone at his age. It is an eternity, but it is great news."
Wenger added: "We have to give him a few training sessions to see how he copes and responds to it, that is the delicate, sensitive stage - to choose when to bring him in and out.
"We will have to handle that day-by-day."
Combative midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong is also closing in on a return, having been sidelined by a serious knee injury suffered while on loan at Wolves in February.
Wenger added: "We also have Emmanuel Frimpong who has returned to full training this week, which is great news as well.
"Emmanuel has also been out a long time, but is progressing well."
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is battling to be fit from an ankle problem which saw him miss the midweek Champions League win in Montpellier.