Van der Vaart heaps praise upon Wilshere

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Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has hailed Jack Wilshere as one of Arsenal's most important players.

The Dutch international joined Spurs from Real Madrid at the start of the season and has already become a fan favourite at White Hart Lane after notching nine Premier League goals and two in the Champions League for Harry Redknapp's side.

Van der Vaart has admitted that he had plenty of time to watch Wilshere in Arsenal’s 4-1 win against Spurs in the Carling Cup earlier this season and was impressed with the 19-year-old’s contribution to the win at White Hart Lane, in particular the Gunners’ fourth goal which Wilshere helped assist.

“I saw him playing for Arsenal against us in the Carling Cup. I was not playing, so I had a good position in the stadium,” Van der Vaart told reporters at Nike Town.

“I really enjoyed his game because he was the best man on the pitch. When he controls the ball he’s always free. It looks easy. But it’s the most difficult thing.”

Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest ever league player when he made his debut against Blackburn in 2008 and Van der Vaart respects his rapid rise from the youth team to the first team setup.

"He’s so young and he’s already so important to the team, and I respect that,” the former Ajax and Hamburg man added.

Rafael van der Vaart wears the new Nike CTR360 Maestri II - a boot that helps the playmaker to receive, control and distribute the ball to Take Control of the game. On-sale now visit www.nikefootball.com.

By Vaishali Bhardwaj