Jack Wilshere says Arsenal should aim to finish in the top six and bring back some European football to the Emirates.
The Gunners have been in a steady decline since failing to qualify for the Champions League in the 2016/17 season.
An eighth-placed finish in the Premier League last term meant there was no football on the continent for Arsenal for the first time since the 1994/95 campaign.
On Arsenal’s targets this season, Wilshere said on Drive: “I think they have to aim for top six. They have to get European football back in some capacity.
“When you’ve got Europa League games you’ve got a chance to bring younger players together – try new tactics and formations so they need to bring that back for the fans too.”
Wilshere was quizzed about the youngsters that could benefit from a return of Europa League football. The midfielder picked out two names who fans should watch out for, including Charlie Patino, who already has the ability to play for the first-team despite being 17 years old.
He added: “I’ve been to watch their last two games – their last one being against Newport which is men’s football so we can see where they are.
“They’ve got some good players like Omari Hutchinson.
“The one everyone talks about, who I haven’t seen close up yet is Charlie Patino. I’ve seen clips of him and the people, the staff known about him.
“He’s got the ability, he’s definitely got the ability. If you put him in a game with the first-team he wouldn’t look out of place.
“In terms of dealing with the pressure, you don’t know until you’re there, especially with the fans back and a lot of pressure on the club to get results.
“I think technically he’s definitely good enough.”
Tasked with getting Arsenal back in Europe and bringing in the academy stars is manager Mikel Arteta, who has had plenty of ups and downs in his near two-year spell in charge.
Some Arsenal fans have their doubts about Arteta but Wilshere, who’s currently training with his former club, is encouraged by what he’s seen.
On Arteta, Wilshere said: “What I remember most about him was when he came to Arsenal as a player.
“From the first day he was talking to everyone and eventually he took the armband. He was our leader, our voice, the link between the manager and players.
“I’ve been training there for the last week and it’s been fascinating to see the way he is – the way he talks to the players. He’s got a clear philosophy which he’s trying to get across to them.
“You can see what the manager wants to do. He’s a young manager, a good manager, a good coach. On the training pitch he’s really good and he gets his message across to the players.
“But they’re young. A lot of them are new to the Premier League so it’s going to take some time. I know fans want quick results and to challenge but it’ll take time, they’re on the right road.”
The club are in a better place than under Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery, insists Wilshere, who believes the now Villarreal manager wasn’t a good fit at the club.
Wilshere said: “There was a big change when Arsene [Wenger] left. This is not me being bitter because Unai told me I could leave but I don’t think he was the right man.
“You look at the teams he’s been at and he wants to set up a low block counter-attack and that wasn’t the way Arsenal or the players they had were set up to play.
“I don’t think he was the right man but now they’re on the right path. There was always going to be a dip when Arsene left because it’s so much change so quickly – he controlled everything.
“But now they seem to be building slowly and getting back to where they should be.”
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