Jack Wilshere's injury problems have given the Arsenal midfielder the mental strength required to perform on the biggest stage, according to former Gunners player Gilberto Silva.
Upon his emergence into Arsenal's first team, Wilshere had been touted as a player able to fill the void left by Silva, who won two FA Cups and the Premier League title during his time at the club between 2002 and 2008.
Injuries have derailed Wilshere's career, though, with a loan move to Bournemouth last term seemingly signalling the end of his time at Arsenal.
However, the England international has enjoyed a resurgence this season, and Silva feels that Sunday's EFL Cup final clash against Manchester City will provide the perfect opportunity for Wilshere to prove his quality.
"I still remember when I first saw him. Jack was about 16 years old and I can remember how easy it was to see his talent on that first day when he trained with the squad," Silva told the Sunday Mirror.
"You could see the quality – and you never lose that quality. He is brave with the ball and has good vision. Arsenal need a player like him.
"But the last few years have been a struggle. Jack has suffered with injuries and then was allowed to go on loan to Bournemouth.
"From the outside, it looked like he had lost his direction. But, in my opinion, all the problems he's had will have taught him a lot.
"If he didn't have strength then it would have been impossible to get through the frustration he has suffered with injuries. This game against City is a big opportunity for him.
"When you play in a final, against a big team, the best players look at it as a chance to do well.
"It is a special game, the chance to show that you have the strength to become a champion.
"Hopefully he can show how good he is because Arsenal need players like him who understand the club's culture."
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