Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has showered his teammate Alexandre Lacazette in glowing praise, after the Frenchman made his return from injury a special one having got on the scoresheet from the penalty spot.
Lacazette's chance came after his strike partner - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - allowed the former Lyon man to have the spot kick despite being on a hattrick himself. The act of generosity was a real show of team spirit, and Wilshere was pleased to see the 26-year-old grab a much needed goal.
Speaking to the club's official site, Wilshere said: "I’m buzzing for Laca. I know how hard he’s worked. He didn’t take his injury well, but nobody does. He was down but he knew what it takes to come back.
"He’s worked hard and only trained a couple of days, but he was out there and looked like he’s not been away. It’s good for the team, good for him and I’m happy for him."
The Gunners' academy graduate also spoke about Stoke's resilience on the day, and highlighted how the north London side found a way through a stubborn Potters' side after the interruption of the international break.
🗣 "I’m buzzing for Laca. I know how hard he’s worked. He didn’t take his injury well, but nobody does. He was down but he knew what it takes to come back... it’s good for the team, good for him and I’m happy for him."@JackWilshere on @LacazetteAlex 🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/4Im4kqjsrl— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 2, 2018
The 26-year-old said: "We expected that a little bit. When they sit deep it’s hard to break them down, and you have to be at your best on the ball and I don’t think we were in the first half.
"Sometimes it’s like that after an international break, it takes 45 minutes to blow the cobwebs off. I think in the second half we tried to up it and as the game went on, they got tired, we upped it and our attacking play was too much for them."
Wilshere went on to add: "We knew they were going to sit in to hit us on the counter. You have to set yourself up so that if you lose the ball, you’re ready to press straight away.
"In the first half we weren’t really doing that. It was more stretched and we kept losing cheap balls, but in the second half we were much better."
Arsene Wenger's side now turn their attention to the upcoming Europa League quarter final tie against CSKA Moscow on Thursday night, a game which will be pivotal to salvaging any sort of success from the Gunners' season.
On that matter in particular, Wilshere was keen to stress the importance of the tie against the Russian side. "It’s a big game. We needed that 90 minutes out of the way. We needed to get the three points, move on and keep the momentum going. We’ve won a few in a row and wanted to keep that going. Now we’ve got a big one on Thursday and we’re ready for that."
Arsenal follow their European exploits with a Premier League game against struggling Southampton at the Emirates, but Thursday's game will hold the most significance for Wenger and the Emirates' faithful.