Hodgson’s wildcard: Why Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere should go to the Euros with England
Most players tend to see their stock rise whilst they are out injured as supporters exaggerate the importance of the sidelined individual and the difference that they would make to the team if fit.
In Jack Wilshere’s case, however, the situation is rather different, with the 24-year-old having endured so many injury setbacks that there have even been suggestions in some quarters that Arsenal should consider selling him.
Doing so would be extremely ill-advised, though, and Wilshere’s talent is such that, should he prove his fitness prior to the end of the campaign, the midfielder deserves to be included in England’s Euro 2016 squad, let alone Arsenal’s plans going forward.
Wilshere’s latest comeback is well underway, with the midfielder having made two appearances for Arsenal’s U21 side in the past week, the most recent of which came against Swansea City yesterday as he set up a goal for Serge Gnabry.
Injuries have certainly robbed Wilshere of an abundance of playing time in recent seasons but, when fit, he is capable of unlocking defences with precise passes, while his dribbling is also of an extremely high standard.
Wilshere also thrives upon playing for his country, as shown by the fact that he previously won six man of the match awards in seven games for England in a spell culminating with a goalscoring display against Slovenia back in June of last year before injury cruelly stepped in.
Wilshere would certainly have to fight for his place in the England starting line-up, with Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli having established himself as an important player for the Three Lions alongside team-mate Eric Dier, but there is no question that the Arsenal midfielder should make the squad, especially if Jordan Henderson misses out through injury.
The season is almost over but Wilshere’s campaign is just beginning. He is in line to feature again for Arsenal U21s against West Bromwich Albion on Monday and a good display in that game could see him make the squad for the first team’s fixture away to Sunderland on April 24th.
An archetypal Arsenal player in terms of the way he controls the ball, Wilshere registered an average pass accuracy of 84% in the Premier League last season, while he created 16 chances. It is true that the midfielder needs to improve his goal tally, but that isn’t Wilshere’s speciality, as he instead thrives upon being the link between midfield and attack.
At both domestic and international level Wilshere is no longer guaranteed a place in the starting XI, but for now he can still be an extremely useful option off the bench given his ability to alter any game in an instant.
Whether Wilshere will ever be able to get over his injury struggles is impossible to predict, but his quality is such that when he is available both Arsenal and England have to make the most of his qualities.
Alli and Ross Barkley are both extremely talented players, but having Wilshere as an additional option would certainly bolster England’s chances of enjoying a lengthy run at Euro 2016. Wilshere has been written off by some already, but the reality is that he still has many years ahead of him in which to prove his critics wrong.
His technique, along with his eye for a killer ball, is superb, and there is no question that he is one of the country’s best midfielders when fit, as proven by Hodgson’s ongoing support despite seeing his player out of action for almost a year. Few are held in such high regard having played the full 90 minutes of a Premier League game just once since the start of last season.
His ability to operate as a defensive midfielder for his country should also enhance his chances of making the squad. If Wilshere wasn’t so talented then perhaps his injuries could be seen as a reason for him to be left out of the squad, but he has already proven in his previous appearances for the Three Lions that he is a player worth persisting with. It’d be criminal not to.