With all the recent rumours about Manchester City’s interest in the 23 year old midfielder, i have found myself in the rather strange position of not really caring. Traditionally a massive supporter of Jack i’m now not sure on whether i’d keep him. Wilshere has been under massive criticism for a number of years, with many supporting Paul Scholes belief that he hasn’t improved since he put in that man of the match performance against Barcelona in 2011. In truth I hate to say it but he’s probably right. Jack has been seriously hampered with injuries but ultimately he’s a midfielder who is given quite a lot of attacking freedom and has scored just 6 goals in over 100 arsenal appearances. So I am left wondering whether we should really be giving a new bumper contract to a player who has serious injury problems, and a guy who is not always a starter, rather than cashing in now.
Anyone who watches Jack week in week out (when he isn’t injured) will understand that he comes with a certain level of baggage. Jack has always suffered with temperament and his disciplinary record is fairly poor, he argues with referees and often lets opposition players wind him up to his own disadvantage. He is also a very combative and competitive player, often going in for challenges most would not, as much as this can be seen as passion it can also lead to injuries and it has. These problems can be seen in many players and often written off as maturity issues but good players can change like Wayne Rooney has shown, going on to be a shining example as captain of Manchester United. There is additionally the problem of whether he is worth the hype, he did incredibly well as a young boy and had the clubs hopes put on his shoulders at a young age, but he hasn’t really delivered. He has big holes in his game around his positioning and he leaves gaps when he goes on marauding runs, often to get tackled and give the opposition the opportunity to counter, the off field troubles such as smoking don’t even come into it in my mind. These are all more significant problems that make me wonder why Arsenal are so averse to at least entertain interest from wealthy sides who would pay big money for the playmaker.
However i then remember how tough fans are on Jack. This is a guy that was touted as the next big prodigy who would replace Fabregas, he was even on the cover of Fifa 12. It was seen as a given that he would be a future Arsenal captain and all that pressure has definitely taken its toll. I feel that people measure him against the best, but just because he isn’t world class doesn’t mean he isn’t valuable. He performs a great box to box role for Arsenal and is part of why they have such a great depth in midfield, he doesn’t have to be the star. People knock his competitive edge but its damn entertaining, few players have the capacity to perform such mazy runs and to unlock a defence like Wilshere can, just think about that goal against Norwich.
He’s also one hell of a tackler, in fact I’d say the only issue is he was born too late, with many of his tackles being too tough for the modern game. He can tackle just as well as any defensive midfielder including Coquelin, and thats the key I feel to him unlocking his potential. Jack is a good all rounder, he can do everything these days, which isn’t something you could have said about him a few years ago. Just think of those long shots he pulled off against Slovenia and that drive against West Brom. His role in England’s squad as a deep lying playmaker is proof he can do it. I know he was ‘destined to be a number 10’ but thats a dream. There are far better number 10’s at arsenal and all the big clubs, but there are few better all round midfielders. If Jack can learn to position himself, use some discipline he could be a perfect midfielder. Though this completely depends on whether Wenger uses him in the deeper role he needs to thrive. This is how he can come good, and coming from deep is the only way he can keep doing things like this anyway.
He’ll never be the future Paul Gascoigne he was meant to be, but he can sure be a great something else.