No longer merely an exciting prospect, Jack Wilshere is one of England's best

Wedged somewhere in between Arsene Wenger squaring up to fourth officials, an ever expanding injury list and a night club fracas, Jack Wilshere is slowly going about his business at Arsenal.

As a promising youth player at Arsenal, expectation has been heaped on Wilshere ever since his first appearance and debut goal against Sheffield United in 2008 at the tender age of 16.

The potential of youth is an exciting prospect, but a player’s evolution into a complete footballer is a long and arduous journey that takes in many anonymous and frustrating games.

Wilshere would have been forgiven for taking in a few of these detours in his fledgling career, but it looks as if he’s managed to bypass this and has headed straight towards becoming a confident and established player in a highly respected English club.

At the start of the season, he was still very much a player with potential blossom at a big club, having spent the back of the previous season on loan at Bolton.

A surprise England call up for the friendly against Hungary in August was seen, certainly by me at least, as little more than an exciting opportunity to see a prospect for the future and for Fabio Capello to hide behind his promise to change the national setup in the wake of the World Cup.

Having featured in every game for Arsenal this season though, he has justified his inclusion, as his performances have demonstrated a confidence and assurance that is befitting of international football and that amazingly disregard his years and relative inexperience.

Despite a terrible haircut that makes him look like a Playmobil character, Wilshere clearly has a cool resolve to succeed and has yet to be overwhelmed by any occasion that his ability has taken him to.

It would be easy to fall into the trap of mediocrity after such great promise that Francis Jeffers and Danny Cadamarteri fell into and one that Gabriel Agbonlahor looks increasingly likely to succumb to.

Instead, perhaps thanks to a few (relatively) old heads at Arsenal, Wilshere has discarded the tag of just an exciting prospect and has instead adopted the moniker of one of England’s best and most assured performers who will fully deserve his appearance in the next England squad, based on his performances, not just his potential.

Despite having to watch the game through a pair of binoculars from his vantage point in the stands, Arsene Wenger was delighted with Wilshere’s contribution to his side’s 4-1 defeat of Tottenham in the other domestic cup.

“We know that Jack is an outstanding football player. But he can get tackles and give tackles, he’s tough. I believe he has an outstanding future.

“He just needs to keep well, humble and enjoy his game.

“He’s much ahead [of where we expected him to be]. But I believe as well that talented players play early. All the big players play early, at the age of 18 they start to play at the top level” he said with a proud tear in his eye.

A sceptic might point out that it’s all been a little too easy so far and that there will be a test of some kind waiting for Wilshere in the future.

His confidence and assurance on the pitch seems to suggest though that he will be at home in any hostile or intimidating football environment.

The biggest test may come away from the beautiful game and he has already allegedly been involved in a nightclub fracas this year.

However, if he lets his football do the talking, he is well on the way to establishing himself as one of England’s most assured midfielders, as he has confidently left the tag of being merely a promising prospect far behind him.

Tags: Arsenal, Jack Wilshere

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simon 22 September 2010 at 2:39pm

It’s been a little bit easy for him so far?

Really? He’s played at away at Anfield, Blackburn & with 10 men away at Sunderland. And then got kicked black and blue by Tottenham’s cloggers last night. He still bossed that game and created 2 of the goals.

What would he have to do to impress you then? Jees.

James 22 September 2010 at 4:04pm

Re: Simon

To be fair he did say this:

“Wilshere has discarded the tag of just an exciting prospect and has instead adopted the moniker of one of England’s best and most assured performers who will fully deserve his appearance in the next England squad, based on his performances, not just his potential.”

Dan Mobbs 23 September 2010 at 12:01am

@Simon surely the headline to the article alone will tell you that I’m a fan of Wilshere’s, as I’ve labelled him as one of England’s best.

My reference to his career being a little too easy was intended to highlight the fact that he’s still in the honeymoon of his early career and whilst he’s performed fantastically so far this year some hardened cynics might suggest that things will get tougher for him over the course of the season, as games and pressure both mount up.

His competence so far suggests that he’s an experienced pro, but a full-season in the limelight will really test whether he’s got the right stuff and whether or not the heavily heaped praise at this early stage of his career is justified.

Understood? Jees.

@James thanks for reading the whole article.

Tom 27 September 2010 at 8:16am

Jees

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