Wilshere is a talent fit to skip the U-21s

September 30, 2010 0

During England’s thrashing by Germany at this summer’s World Cup, Germany were the better side in every department.  In one particular area, however, England offered no competition at all: that of playmaker.  The Germans had Mesut Ozil, one of the tournament’s stars, whilst the England midfield of Gerrard, Barry, Lampard & Co looked comparatively one-dimensional. They’re good players – great players, even – but they’re not playmakers.  Barry is a continuity player, Gerrard an impact player, and Lampard an intriguing cross-breed of the two.  But England’s midfield has no conductor, and occasionally, no flair.

In the aftermath of the tournament, great hopes were placed upon the low but sturdy shoulders of Jack Wilshere.  Despite the hype, I’m not sure anyone expected him to make as big an impact in the Arsenal side as he has.  He’s emerged as a first-choice player, playing a part in every game so far, and excelling in both the Premier League and Europe.  He’s been both consistent and creative, with some moments of sublime skill to boot, including this backheel to set up Andrey Arshavin’s goal in midweek:

Despite his seeming reluctance to use Wilshere during the last international break, it’s no surprise that Stuart Pearce has named him in his England U-21 squad for a crucial play-off against Romania.  However, if I were Fabio Capello, I would take Wilshere out of the U-21 squad.  Partly to avoid the risk of burnout, but mainly because he’s needed in the senior side.

The next England squad will be without the likes of Frank Lampard, James Milner, and Theo Walcott.  Midfielders with attacking impetus and drive are in short supply, and Wilshere is one of the nation’s most in-form players.  He might only be 18 years old, but he is more than ready to take his place on the international stage.

Capello may well be intending to pick him for the game against Montenegro, which comes a few days after the U-21 game.  But why make Wilshere play in both games?  The FA ought to have learnt the lesson of forcing Theo Walcott to compete at both levels – he followed up that ordeal with an injury-filled 09/10 season.

Capello needs Wilshere more than Pearce does, and ought to protect his brightest emerging talent.  When you’re playing regularly in the Champions League, the ‘experience’ of working under a middling manager with the U-21s is nothing more than an unnecessary distraction.

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  1. Quenton Cassidy October 1, 2010 at 11:55 am -

    As an Arsenal fan, I love the fact that one of our boys is so highly regarded in terms of international play. As an Arsenal fan, I really don’t want him to play. We’re already out Fabregas, we can’t afford injury to Wilshere as well in largely meaningless games.

  2. fenland_gunner October 1, 2010 at 11:11 am -

    Agreed, except – that Arsenal need Wilshere more than Capello and Pearce. so I hope Wenger does pick up that phone and rage against JW playing for both teams, and preferably, neither. Tough on England, but after this summer, they don’t deserve him.

  3. Tommusso September 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm -

    I can’t believe this. If I was Wenger I’d be on the phone to Capello at once. Last time Pearce picked him he didn’t even bloody play him, and Capello has already said how much he likes Jack…Whats the point in the u21s?

  4. Electrolex September 30, 2010 at 7:02 pm -

    I agree with all your points. I bet Pearce does his best to ruin Jack like he tried to do to Theo

  5. munawwar September 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm -

    oh lord please don’t play him in both!

  6. andrei September 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm -

    i may be the single arsenal fan glad wilshere and gibbs will play for u21 as i am from romania and will travel a bit to see the game on the 12th.

    hope the boys will do well and won’t get injured.

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