ANDREW Surman hailed the "great influence" of Jack Wilshere during his loan spell at Cherries and backed the midfielder to earn selection for next summer's World Cup.

England international Wilshere featured 27 times during a season-long loan at Vitality Stadium in 2016-17, his campaign curtailed by a broken leg sustained against Tottenham in April.

The 26-year-old may have not netted a single goal for Cherries but he played a key role in helping the Dorset club finish ninth in the Premier League.

And having struggled for first-team chances at Arsenal in the opening months of the season, Wilshere has risen to prominence recently, playing the full 90 minutes in the Gunners' past six top-flight games.

South Africa-born Surman commended the midfielder – who is doubtful for Arsenal's trip to Cherries on Sunday due to a minor ankle injury – and backed him to secure a spot on the plane for Russia 2018.

Surman, who featured alongside Wilshere 15 times last season, said: “He wasn’t big time, he was a good lad.

"He knuckled down, got involved in whatever the manager wanted us to do and got involved in the club philosophy.

"Without being arrogant, he was always a presence. He carries a big stature coming from a club like Arsenal and being an England international.

"If he carries on playing the way he has been playing, I’m sure he will be in the World Cup squad.

"You want to learn from the very best and Jack’s right up there – he is one of the best players in the country. When someone like that comes in, you want to try to learn what you can from him.

"He was a great influence on everyone here and it has been great to see him doing well recently."

Cherries boss Eddie Howe echoed Surman's words and spoke of his respect for the Stevenage-born ace, a close friend of Benik Afobe.

Howe said: "Jack was a great lad when he was here and still is. He is also a great player. I couldn’t speak highly enough of him and the impact he left with us.

"I have a lot of respect for him. The decision for him to come here was not an easy one and I think it took a lot of bravery and desire to play again.

"Without putting words in his mouth, I think he got all the things he wanted from the loan spell. He came into a family environment and a team spirit he really enjoyed.

"I am really pleased to see him performing in the way he has recently. He has been excellent and full credit to him for that."

Previewing the clash with Arsenal, Surman added: "They have got players all over the pitch who you have got to try to stop from playing.

"Of course we want to take points off Arsenal. If we could give another performance like we did last year, I’m sure we will get points off them."