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Defensive role leads to Wilshere goals

England midfielder Jack Wilshere claimed his drought-breaking double against Slovenia stemmed from the more defensive position he plays for his country.

Wilshere played at the base of England’s midfield trio in their friendly against Republic of Ireland before scoring twice from the same position in Monday’s 3-2 triumph over Slovenia in Euro 2016 qualifying.

The two goals were his first for England at senior level.

Despite sitting further back than he generally has throughout his career, Wilshere claimed it allows him to use his football nous to get involved in England’s attacking thrusts at the right time.

In Ljubljana, Wilshere equalised for England at 1-1 with a sharp finish from the edge of the box in the 57th minute, while the 23-year-old put the visitors in front with stunning blast from slightly further out with 17 minutes remaining.

“A big part of the role is that when we’re attacking, I’m backing up play,” Wilshere said.

“You’re not defending at that stage, but you are trying to stop the counterattack if it happens. You’re basically trying to read the position where the ball will drop. You can go to the edge of the box and the ball might drop to you.

“But it’s the balance that’s important. Sometimes you have to shield and sometimes you have to press.”

Against Slovenia, Wilshere anchored England’s midfield behind Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph.

In Dublin, the Arsenal midfielder covered for Henderson and James Milner.

Tue 16 Jun, 2015
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