Wilshere can’t be England’s Jack of all Trades



As a committed club before country man, I looked at Arsenal’s upcoming fixtures a few weeks ago and identified a full week between the Newcastle and Wolves games. After a punishing new year campaign it was a relief that we’d have some recovery time before a big week of Premier and Champions League action.

I was therefore left deflated on Saturday when I realised that our wounded troops wouldn’t have the full week to get over Saturday’s little blip; the majority of them have to trudge across Europe to play in largely pointless friendlies, risking injury in the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the World Cup, the European Championships and The African Cup of Nations and deep down I appreciate the need for International managers to assemble their squads in order for them to improve.

Speaking from a personal point view, I don’t particularly care whether England are successful or not, but I do realise that embarrassment felt this summer will not be averted in future unless the squad works together and develops some kind of common purpose.

That said, I still begrudge sending our players to represent their countries when we are in the middle of the most intense battle for silverware in recent seasons.

I’m a selfish Arsenal fan and only want to see our players in Arsenal shirts. Unfortunately, the appetite for Football around the world has grown to such an extent that the calendar is filled up with games of any description as soon as a space is available. Even when all the domestic and International obligations are fulfilled and we have a summer break for a couple of months, most clubs – thankfully not ours – can’t resist a few weeks in the US or Asia to play money spinning friendlies.

As long as Football is such a lucrative industry, I fear that I’ll be moaning to myself about the demands placed on our players every time one of them limps back to London Colney.

Fortunately, it looks like Wenger has decided to play hard-ball this time and the likes of Cesc and RVP are staying at home for a few duvet days.

My biggest concern however is that Jack Wilshere is now being heralded as England’s saviour.

Personally, I agree with everything Fabio Capello has said: Jack is an exceptional talent. He has the brain and composure of a player in his late twenties, not his late teens. His decision making is first class, picking passes that move the play forward rather than maintaining possession for possession’s sake. He’s intelligent enough to know when to stay at home and when to get around the opponents’ box.

I think Jack will improve by playing with different players in a different atmosphere to Premier League Football. Whether you’re entertained by it or not, International Football is a different discipline. It requires even more focus and patience than Champions League Football, even when you’re playing against so-called lesser nations. That’s not to say I believe it is a higher standard to Champions League football.

I just hope that Capello gives Wilshere 45 minutes or an hour and realises that burning out our brightest talent is not good for him, his club or country.

The fact of the matter is that with success, which Jack is beginning to taste, greater demands are to be placed on him. We just have to hope and trust that Wenger will seek assurances that Jack is treated sensibly.

It would be frankly ridiculous if Stuart Pearce tries to draft Wilshere into the U21′s in the summer. If Wilshere is a full squad member then so be it, but don’t play him in the U21′s which could be better used to blood another youngster. Not only does it place needless strain on his young body, it also sends the wrong messages. It was quite clear that Theo was messed around by England and didn’t know if he was the first choice winger or still in development. Hopefully Capello’s platitudes show he has learnt his lesson.

Wilshere is a massive part of England’s – and more importantly Arsenal’s – future and must be treated appropriately.