Arsenal Player Focus – Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere is one of the brightest prospects that Arsenal has produced for years and to the joy of many, he is English.

Wilshere started his first Premier League game for the Gunners last Sunday in the draw against Liverpool at Anfield. The youngster did not look overawed by the occasion, although his mistake led to the home side scoring the opening goal. The youngster is not afraid to tackle and despite his small size, he possesses a strong presence in an Arsenal midfield that perhaps has been lacking in recent years.

With injuries to Samir Nasri, Denilson and the not so fit Cesc Fabregas, the next couple of weeks could see the 18-year-old become a regular in the first team. In his Arsenal Premier League debut, he played alongside Abou Diaby, deep of the midfield but he struggled to make any killer through balls. In the same week, he made his England debut in the friendly against Hungary. He came on as a substitute for the remaining 10 minutes to become the 10th youngest player to ever feature for the Three Lions. With Fabio Capello keen to include young players in his future squads, Wilshere may well keep his place in the team for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers.

The Youngster found first team opportunities hard to come early on, limited to League Cup and FA Cup appearances as well as becoming an un-used substitute. The midfielder spent the end of last season on loan at Bolton Wanderers, where he gained valuable first team experience. He helped Wanderers stay clear of relegation under the guidance of then new manager Owen Coyle. The Trotters boss highly rates the player and he even wanted to bring him back on loan to the North, but it appears Arsenal are not willing to let him do so. Wilshere scored his first Premier League goal for them in the 2-1 victory at West Ham, who he supported as a young boy. His successful form at the Reebok Stadium did not go unnoticed, as England manager Fabio Capello admitted he was considering including the youngster in his World Cup squad.

Wilshere has been likened to Arsenal legend Liam Brady, who played for the Gunners for seven years, winning the FA Cup in 1979. Brady was renowned for his quality passing and left foot, just like the style Wilshere plays. Brady is now head of Youth Development at the Emirates Stadium and has overseen the youngster’s progression into the first team. Other youth coaches have even compared him to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. He was an integral part of the team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2009, beating Liverpool. It was during this period many believed he would become one of the best players of his generation. If Wilshere lives up to expectations, Arsenal and England will reap the rewards of what is becoming an exciting prospect.

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