At times this season there has looked to be no way back for on-loan Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
It was a surprise to many when the England international, fresh from the disappointment of last summer’s European Championships, swallowed his pride and elected to head to Bournemouth on loan, moving on Deadline Day.
Many assuptions have been made about Wilshere’s character over the years, having been snapped in many a compromising situation, however, his late switch to join former Arsenal man Benik Afobe on the south coast made a lot of people sit back and reassess.
This was a level headed and highly professional decision being made by someone who had, until then, been branded as a bit of a luxury.
The 25-year-old’s season, to this point, has been far from remarkable, however, he has gone about his business in a quiet and professional manager, slowly forging a way back into the Arsenal setup.
The signing for Howe was a massive coup and the biggest deal the club had ever been involved in, when it comes to the stature of the player.
However, Wilshere made a slow start to life at Dead Court, he looked at times a passenger in the side and did not play ninety minutes until a 0-0 draw with, rather fittingly, Tottenham in October.
Whilst the stuttering play time would have undoubtedly been frustrating for Wilshere, and the fans in Bournemouth, it was masterful management from Howe, not only doing himself a big favour for the rest of the season in keeping his star man fit, but also Arsenal.
To bring in a blockbuster signing such as Wilshere and then to persist with hauling him off around the 70 minute mark week-after-week, regardless of the score line, takes great restraint and has paid off.
Whilst then midfielder has only picked up two assists thus far this season, he has played ninety minutes in 13 of his last 14 games, when was the last time you seriously thought he could do that?
Furthermore, despite it not showing in goals and assist statistics, Wilshere contributes a lot in terms of the build-up play, chipping in with, on average, 1.5 key passes per game.
Whilst he may still not be at the required standard to play for Arsenal it would seem, judging by this season, manager Arsene Wenger is in desperate need of some midfield depth.
The Cherries manager will be desperate to tie his main man down on a permanent deal, which could net the Gunners a nice little fee, let’s not forget Howe forked out £15m (!!) for Liverpool’s Jordan Ibe.
However, Wenger could do a lot worse for depth than brining in someone who has already racked up 160 appearances for the club, will give everything and finally has the benefit of a season at full fitness under his belt.
The Jack Wilshere who returns to The Emirates will be markedly different that the one who left.