Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes he may have the best midfield in the Premier League when he has all his star names available for selection.
Jack Wilshere's surprise inclusion in the first-team squad for Saturday's trip to Norwich bolsters Wenger's options, yet he says the returning England star faces a fight to force his way back into a midfield that has started the campaign in highly promising fashion, with Spaniards Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla in impressive early season form.
Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Emmanuel Frimpong and Tomas Rosicky are among those still missing from the Arsenal squad for the trip to Carrow Road, but Wenger is in bullish mood as he suggests he has more depth to his central options than any other manager in England's top flight.
"The midfield has done very well since the start of the season, but we have not had everyone available," Wenger said. "So when everyone is fit and if we can find the right balance, yes, we may have the best midfield. This is why we allowed Alex Song to leave for Barcelona last summer. We have great options in the midfield."
Wenger has again stressed that England fans should not expect too much from Wilshere as he prepares to make his comeback, as he claims the lack of quality available to national team boss Roy Hodgson is heightening the hype surrounding the return of his 20-year-old midfielder.
"The fate of the country is never to be based round to one player," Wenger added. "You need to have many good players and if you have to wait until one player comes back that means something is wrong. If Spain are world champion and European champion, it's because they have so many options - if Cazorla is not fit, Fabregas plays; if Fabregas is not fit, Iniesta plays.
"That for me is the biggest problem you have in England. Even a player like Arteta doesn't get called up for Spain and once you have a problem like that in England, you will not need to go crazy for anybody coming back from an injury like Jack."