Arsenal pair Walcott and Wilshere praised by England boss Hodgson

Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere have been identified by England manager Roy Hodgson as good examples to young players trying to break into the national team, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Hodgson was impressed with both Walcott and Wilshere in the midweek win over Brazil, praising Wilshere for the way in which he has dealt with the hype surrounding him after returning from a long-term injury lay-off, and Walcott for his performance against the South Americans. Hodgson went so far as to describe it as the forward’s best performance for England.

I was very happy with Theo and Jack. Both of them brought their last performances with Arsenal on to the field and were very good. I think it was Theo’s best performance for England – maybe even better than when he scored that hat-trick in Croatia – while Jack showed a great example.

The question the other day was, ‘Can he [Wilshere] live up to expectations?’ and I’m saying, ‘Don’t judge him too harshly or put too much on him’, but it seems to me he doesn’t need that. He obviously enjoyed the expectation and responsibilities and went out there and gave that performance.

Hodgson added that he felt both Walcott and Wilshere accepted the responsibility of starting for England against Brazil and rose to it in a way that he wants more of his young players to do.

At 23 and with more than 30 England caps already, Walcott is something of a young veteran, having made his senior international bow in May 2006 and travelled to the World Cup that same year. The 21-year-old Wilshere, however, has only seven caps to his name, having missed almost 18 months of football due to injuries.

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