Daily Mail

‘Jack is a £100m player’ (are you sure, Manuel?)

- By JON WEST

JACK WIL­SHERE has been hailed as a £100mil­lion player by Manuel Pel­le­grini as he stands by for a first West Ham start in three months. The for­mer Arse­nal mid­fielder, who ar­rived in the sum­mer with a lengthy his­tory of in­jury trou­ble, played the fi­nal five min­utes of Satur­day’s 3-0 win at New­cas­tle — his first ac­tion since Septem­ber 1. Wil­shere has re­cov­ered from an­kle surgery and with Pel­le­grini keen to ro­tate his squad at the start of a busy De­cem­ber sched­ule, the 26-year-old could start in tonight’s home game against Cardiff City. De­clan Rice, Robert Sn­od­grass, Pe­dro Obiang and cap­tain Mark Noble have all per­formed well in mid­field in Wil­shere’s ab­sence, and young­ster Grady Dian­gana has also es­tab­lished him­self as part of the first team. But Pel­le­grini made it clear that he viewed Wil­shere as a player who could come straight back into the side. ‘Play­ers of the qual­ity of Wil­shere at this mo­ment can cost £100m, £90m, £70m,’ he said. ‘Good cre­ative mid­field­ers are very ex­pen­sive. We took the risk and it has not been a good few months for him but we have the sec­ond part of the sea­son and I hope he will play most of the games. ‘In foot­ball, the most im­por­tant thing is the qual­ity. That you can­not buy — you ei­ther have it or you don’t. ‘Af­ter that, there are a lot of dif­fer­ent things that you must add, like not hav­ing so many in­juries. But it is never hard for good play­ers to get into the team.’ Sn­od­grass has es­tab­lished him­self as a reg­u­lar pick de­spite ar­riv­ing for pre-sea­son train­ing need­ing to lose weight. ‘His re­ac­tion was im­por­tant — he didn’t try to de­fend him­self,’ said Pel­le­grini. ‘He said, “Yes, I know, I must do it” and worked from that day 100 per cent.’ Javier Her­nan­dez scored twice at New­cas­tle just days af­ter giv­ing an in­ter­view to Span­ish news­pa­per Marca say­ing he might look for a Jan­uary exit. Pel­le­grini made it clear that would not be hap­pen­ing, say­ing: ‘He is a very im­por­tant player for us.’

 ?? GETTY IM­AGES ?? Fit again: Wil­shere
GETTY IM­AGES Fit again: Wil­shere

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