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Hype around Wilshere justified says Cazorla

ESPN staff
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Jack Wilshere has been Arsenal's standout player during a difficult season © PA Photos
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Santi Cazorla has said the return of Jack Wilshere to the Arsenal side has "liberated" him, and described his English team-mate as an "incredible" player.

In an interview with Arsenal Magazine, Cazorla also said that much of the hype around Wilshere is justified, while pointing out that the Premier League isn't necessarily more physical than La Liga.

Cazorla scored twice - including a late match-winner - in his side's 2-1 win over Aston Villa last Saturday and he feels such attacking form is in part due to Wilshere's return.

"He has liberated me because, when he is on the pitch, the opposition have to think about him, how to handle him and that gives me even more space," Cazorla said.

"Jack is an incredible player. He gives us something different. He has, for me, characteristics that not many players have. He's a player that's very strong. That surprised me because he's more or less my height and then you see him manage the left very well, he gives you a one-two, he doesn't have fear of facing anything.

"That gives the team that ability to change the rhythm of games. It gives the team something extra. He has everything, a mix. He wins a lot of ball then, in attack, he makes things happen. I'm sure he's going to become much, much better.

"He can do great things. As such, it's normal that England and Arsenal see him as a great hope, because he's very young, he has a brilliant career ahead of him, a lot of potential."

Wilshere's return has meant that Cazorla is now being deployed out wide more and, although the Spaniard prefers to play in the centre, he says it is not an issue due to the movement Arsene Wenger allows them.

"As long as I have freedom, I don't mind. It's not a question of playing wide. It's true that for me, it's not that I don't like the wing, I don't feel as comfortable to be alone out there. I like to get involved in the middle, to get on the ball. The boss lets me do that so, in that sense, it doesn't matter whether I'm on the wing or in the centre.

"We don't have true fixed positions like that. With Jack, with me, with Abou [Diaby], we are players that play a little bit in one position at the start but then later, we can change. If Jack goes up, I stay."

Cazorla, meanwhile, rejected the idea that the Premier League is more physical than Spain but said it is more exciting due to the permissiveness of the referees.

"The English have a reputation for hard men but I don't think that's the issue that separates the leagues," Cazorla said. "There are aggressive players in all the leagues and I don't think England are the exception in that regard.

"They [stick the boot in] the same amount in Spain but, here, they allow more to go unpunished. In Spain, with minimal contact, they might blow the whistle. In England, in that sense, they're a bit more permissible.

"It isn't as tactical [in England]. Here, the matches are more fun, more open. There are more incidents in the boxes, it's more end to end. And, for that, I think the games are more entertaining for the fans because they know a game can turn. It's notably more open and that means there is more contact. In Spain, you have more time in your own half."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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