At the age of 19, Jack Wilshere is already an integral part of the England set-up under Fabio Capello, to the extent where the England manager has already indicated that Wilshere’s emergence has spelled the end of Frank Lampard’s starting role for his country. Arguably, Wilshere is becoming more influential at international level than club level where his talent is complemented by the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri for the time being. For England however, concerns over the fitness of Steven Gerrard coupled with the view that Lampard’s best displays for his country may already be behind him has led to fans of the national team to increasingly pin their hopes for the future on the Arsenal teenager.
Not since Wayne Rooney emerged on the England scene as an 17 year old has a player generated as much excitement and perhaps expectation as Jack Wilshere. One of the special qualities that Wilshere possesses is the technique to match some of the world’s best players, something which he demonstrated during Arsenal’s encounters with Barcelona in the Champions League last season. Wilshere looked comfortable in possession, even under pressure and used his vision and quick feet to keep the ball effectively when others couldn’t. As well as the technical ability, Wilshere can also dribble past players showing a turn of pace to get away from his opponents and commit the opposition defence.
Whilst Fabio Capello initially earmarked Jack Wilshere as a player who could play the holding role in midfield, Wilshere has the capability to play a much more attacking role for his country. In the absence of other genuine attacking midfield players coming through in this country it is also vitally important for the England team that Wilshere learns to play this role effectively. Indeed, Wilshere’s short U21 career saw him deployed predominantly in a more attacking role. Players such Steven Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas, the latter possibly the reason for Wilshere’s deeper role at present for Arsenal, were initially deployed in a more defensive central midfield role before moving forward to play in a support of a lone front man.
One vital aspect, which these 2 players, arguably 2 of the best attacking midfield players in Europe, have added to their game, is goals. This is an area which Wilshere must work on if he is to justify his selection in behind the front man in seasons to come. In his career to date, Wilshere has scored just 4 goals in 78 career appearances and is yet to score for his country in his 5 appearances. This is somewhat surprising for a player who seems to find himself in good attacking positions for his club on a regular basis.
Wilshere’s poor goalscoring record is perhaps symptomatic of Arsenal players who have a tendency to try and walk the ball into the net as opposed to taking the opportunity to have a shot at goal. England fans will be hoping however that Wilshere can improve on his goalscoring record for club and country next season.
Another important quality, which if Wilshere could develop, would benefit his country greatly, is experience of winning trophies. Famously, Arsenal have been unable to achieve this during Wilshere’s time as a first team player and the seasons prior, and with other teams strengthening ahead of next season and Arsenal seemingly in danger of losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Wilshere’s chances of winning trophies is increasingly unlikely. Perhaps one good thing that could come out of Fabregas’ departure would be the potential for Wilshere to take on a more attacking midfield role for his club leading to him playing this position for this country.
One thing that is for certain, is that Wilshere does not have the same trouble as his current teammate in securing a starting spot for his country where by many he is regarded as England’s great hope, not just for the future, but for the present as well.
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