Jack Tipped For The Top, But Too Soon?

Jack Wilshere is a boy of 17 and has made just a handful of appearances for his club as a substitute and also started a few as part of Arsenal’s boys team that have made regular appearances in the League Cup over the past few seasons, but is he really ready for consideration for a call-up to the full England squad?

Having only just earned his first Under-21 cap in Tuesday’s game against Holland, it does seem premature for him to even be considered as a force within the Arsenal team, let alone be considered for a place in the England squad.

Now undoubtedly talent doesn’t discriminate against age. Whether you are old or young doesn’t matter, if you’ve got it, you’ve got it, with Arsenal’s very own Cesc Fabregas being a fine example of this, but even he had to wait three years after his club debut before he was rewarded with his first appearance for his country, so is touting Wilshere as a possible candidate for a place in the World Cup squad a bit optimistic? Or am I just being a negative so and so?

After all, it’s not as if there is an obvious gap in the team that he could fill, with Gerrard and Lampard being favourites to occupy the central roles in midfield, although questions have been raised continually if they can effectively play together. Also there is the new boy from Middle Eastlands, Gareth Barry, Owen Hargreaves, as long he manages to secure a knee transplant and also his twinkle-toed team mate Michael Carrick, who are all likely to be considered ahead of him.

Being left footed, perhaps he could also play on the left and solve England’s long search for a natural left sided player, but here he would also face competition for a place from Joe Cole, who has occupied the position for the past few seasons and also from the epitomy of an uninspiring substitute, Stewart Downing. Emile Heskey excluded of course.

Despite being barely out of short trousers, Wilshere has received some very positive praise from manger Arsene Wenger, although this could merely be the affectionate hopes of a father figure hoping to nurture potential into true talent.

This though has also been verified by England manager Fabio Cappello, who is never one to mince his words and he told the BBC “he plays without fear, with confidence and the other players passed the ball always to him. This is not normal to be so young and so good.”

He added “We have time before we have to decide if he will go to South Africa” after seeing his impressive performance against Rangers in the pre-season Emirates Cup.

With these very strong, influential and extremely flattering words in mind, especially considering that they were aimed at a teenager at the very beginning of his career, he is obviously considered to be a special talent to those in the know.

A test against Rangers though is hardly a severe test, as it’s hardly the calibre you would expect at the World Cup, as to be honest the Scottish League isn’t very good. This is offensive to the Scottish game, it’s the unfortunate truth. Rangers and Celtic have their moments, but compared with a lot of their European counterparts, it would be kind to say that they are underdogs. Also anyone who can tell me anything of interest about the Czech team that demolished Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup will earn serious ThreeMatchBan kudos.

This isn’t to say that I am dismissing Wilshere’s talent, but I feel there is still a long way to go. This also isn’t to say that I don’t want him to succeed, as I’m very excited about seeing this young English talent emerge from a largely French contingent at Arsenal, but I just don’t want to see him fall into the failed hopes category, currently chaired by players with formerly limitless potential, Francis Jeffers and Danny Cadamarteri.

Tags: Arsenal, Jack Wilshere

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