For a while now Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been hailed as a future star of the England national team.
The central midfielder that can take the game by the scruff of the net and make things happen from the centre of the field.
However, consistent injury problems have delayed his descent into England stardom and also stunted his football development.
Wilshere has been frustrated time and time again in his efforts to get fully-fit, without experiencing an injury setback.
The young midfielder is hopeful that he can stay injury free this season though and help England qualify for the World Cup in the process. Wilshere told Sky Sports: “My England career has been a bit stop start, and that is frustrating,”
“But, now that I have had a good pre-season, hopefully I can stay fit and get a good run of games with Arsenal, and then with England to help with the (World Cup) qualifiers.
“Playing for England is the pinnacle and missing matches has not been a good experience. I am yet to play in a World Cup match and haven’t contributed anything to this qualifying campaign. But I want to help and I watch every game like a fan.”
Before he thinks about playing for England on a regular basis Wilshere needs to put a run of games together for Arsenal. Just doing that has proved difficult in the last few seasons, as the Arsenal medical staff have tried to get the youngster back to full fitness.
This season will be a big one for him. Wilshere made 25 Premier League appearances last season, but missed the whole of the previous season through injury. If he can avoid any major injury setbacks this season, then he could excel this season.
The 21-year-old has the potential to be a vital player for Arsenal and England. He just needs to overcome his injury troubles. Wilshere is still very young and has time to overcome his problems though.
I have often wondered if Jack Wilshere had been fit for the last few seasons, would the Gunners still be so far behind their rivals? One player may not win league titles, but a quality player within a team can certainly help teams towards their aims, especially one with such drive.
On talent alone Jack Wilshere should be a first choice central midfielder for England. However, because of the injuries nobody really knows how good Jack Wilshere has the potential to be. His potential is big, but he has to live up to all the hype surrounding him.
For some reason Jack Wilshere’s style of play reminds me of Joe Cole in his younger days. Wilshere is technically gifted, just like Cole was in his younger years. Wilshere also shows a love for the game, like Cole. The most important similarity is confidence of a much older player within one so young.
English football has not really known what to do with Joe Cole and he has not lived up to the hype of his early career. For one reason or another Cole has not reached the heights he was expected to in his career.
However, Jack Wilshere has the security of knowing his best position and being played in it week-in week-out, when fit of course. I do not think Joe Cole has ever found his best position and his career has suffered slightly for it.
This evening’s friendly at Wembley against Scotland is a chance for Wilshere to prove his fitness to England boss Roy Hodgson, after enjoying a good pre-season. I am sure that Hodgson already knows the potential that Wilshere holds, but the youngster still has something to prove to the England boss.
England currently have a dearth of real quality central midfielders. The likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are advancing in years. Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley has yet to fully convince that he is good enough at the top level of international football.
The door is open for Jack Wilshere to command a regular place in the heart of the England midfield. The Arsenal star has the talent, all he has to do now is stay fit and he will be an England regular for years to come.
However, for Jack Wilshere that has proved a problem. I hope for his, Arsenal’s and England’s sake he now stays injury-free and we see the best of the youngster this season and at next year’s World Cup.
Can Jack Wilshere have an injury-free season?