England missing Wilshere’s vision
Looking ahead to a relaxing Sunday and it would be lovely to say in keen anticipation of watching England finish of their World Cup qualification in style. Sadly despite the pressure being off the Three Lions squad I am not hopeful of seeing an exhilarating creative display from Southgate’s team. Not because I feel he is a poor coach or that the desire to turn it on is lacking but because the players he has seem wholly incapable of it.
The other night, without Alli and the injured Adam Lallana creativity from the centre of the park was conspicuous in its absence. Raheem Sterling has started the season well but from wide areas and in Dier and Henderson, inspiration from deep is les then unlikely. The young Spurs player is incapable it seems of any improvisation and the only guesswork required when anticipating his next pass is whether he will select five yards sideways or backwards. Henderson I believe is a good player, if not a great but Klopp seems to have ruined him as a box to box player by playing him so deeply. When he does look to spray a ‘Gerrard’ style pass he is far more likely to find a surprised spectator than a team mate.
Things will improve with the return of Dele Alli but whilst he has a superb understanding with Harry Kane that should benefit the England team in and round the penalty area it will need aid the speed of imagination of beginning attacks from deep. So it is with this back drop that we read yesterday that Gareth Southgate was considering a recall for our Jack Wilshere, ahead of these final 2 qualifiers. Arsenal’s Number 10 undoubtedly has the guile and skillset to energise and stimulate England’s midfield but seriously he has only played on three occasions and not yet in the Premier League.
Wenger’s worries similar to Southgate’s
However it is extremely hard as an Arsenal fan not to sympathise with the England Manager and also draw the parallels with our own situation. Like England, Arsenal are grinding out results and finding a way to win, without much midfield creativity. Ozil has been absent and we do not know when he will return, Xhaka whilst undoubtedly an excellent passer, is not a visionary one and Ramsey suffers from the same affliction as Jordan Henderson. Anyway the Arsenal faithful would rather see the Welshman on the end of a killer pass than endeavouring to make one. Alex Iwobi is manfully deputising for Mesut Ozil but whilst I think many of us have high hopes for our Young Eagle, his shoulders are not broad enough yet to carry the team’s creative burden.
It is unsurprising therefore that Southgate, according to press reports, has been considering a recall for Wilshere as he seeks a creativity. The England Manager it seems is no different to Arsenal fans, wistfully wondering if Jack Wilshere can stay fit and rediscover the form that saw him run the England midfield from the base of Hodgson’s diamond only a few years ago. There is no doubt that the early signs for Wilshere are extremely positive but can he do it for a sustained period in the Premier League is the question. Or indeed is the actual question whether Wenger will give him the opportunity to show that he can? My heart hopes that he will but my head says Ray Parlour is right, when he said this week on Talksport that Jack may need another injury at Arsenal to catch a break.
Jack’s Guile and vision on display v Cologne
What Wilshere has that Ramsey and Xhaka and Dier and Henderson do not have, within their partnerships, is the ability to beat a man to create space and opportunity coupled with the vision and ability to execute a perfect pass. In that sense the injury prone star combined the attributes of Cazorla and Ozil, which in a sensible world should make him a shoe in for both his club and national team.
All that said, the player need the opportunity to prove his body can still match his undoubted football brain over a sustained period of games and for that the England boss needs the Arsenal boss to do him a favour. Certainly the player himself feels he is ready to earn a recall but whether that happens seems dependent on Wenger’s mind set on Jack himself, how convinced he is on Ramsey/Xhaka and on whether he and Arsenal have decided to sell Ozil in January. In the short term Wilshere should have the matches against Norwich and Red Star to press his claim for a Premier League recall. I along with Gareth Southgate I am sure, wish him all the best.