The Enigma of Jack by Richard Hall
There is no debate about the raw ability and enthusiasm of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. Nor is there an argument stating that he does not give his all for the club. Many who do not watch the youngster regularly, underrate him without a ‘by your leave’ but this is misguided.
The problem is not only where but how to utilise him and how his ability this can maximise those around him. There have been enough suggestions and certainly much debate on this matter but somehow, still no definitive conclusion.
It has been suggested that he plays in the hole, as a deep lying midfielder and even on the wings, yet no matter what is proposed the results seem to be the same. Arsenal fans will relate with young Jack rushing around the field, flying into challenges. Either this or holding onto the ball too long and inevitably ending up on the end of a challenge. Many who follow the North London team if pressed, would say there lasting image of him would involve him lying on the floor.
Wilshere has had success in the past and even last season his versatility and superb technique saw him decimate Marseille. He scored twice earning him man of the match. This ironically saw him play on the right wing, a position not often associated with the England midfielder.
The problem with the playing him wide is that Wenger associated him with a central role, a view that many in the Arsenal set up hold. With Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Joel Campbell also able to play out wide on the right, it seems that this will not be a possibility.
Wilshere has performed well in the past as a holding midfielder but the performances are few and far between. His temperament and over enthusiastic approach often leaves him out of position and chasing the ball rather than actually holding. This was a view echoed by Fabio Capello who thought that his technique could see him be a star in that role but his maturity was lacking and that he felt that he could not trust him with the responsibility.
Jack has perhaps put some of his best displays in as a number ten. He has the ability to score goals and when he is not chasing the game he able to concentrate on some of his more natural assets. Here his ability to link the play with the pace of the wide men and work off Olivier Giroud could (and should) start to see him rack up a few goals.
Tony Adams perhaps hit the nail on the head when he said that the purchase of Mesut Ozil should have insulted Jack. Arsene, after all, had a player who could play this position already, so why didn’t he use him? This debate is irrelevant now however, as the ex-Real Madrid man is back from his World Cup win and will be hungry for more.
Mesut Ozil did however, struggle at times in games when he had no pace on the flanks or from Aaron Ramsey pushing through. Here he found he was not able to utilise his amazing gift and went missing. This and fatigue of the German should give Jack hope.
The seasons are long and arduous and with Santi Cazorla playing more of a wide role these days, Wilshere should perhaps be played as back up to Ozil. Back up must not be interpreted as an unused sub, but as a well-used tactical asset played in certain games or when Ozil fades. Wilshere would give much needed energy and add a goal threat.
Perhaps some may argue that he is too good to be on the bench but the response would have to be, that he isn’t earning his place at the moment. Wilshere still is one of Arsenal’s most deadly weapons; the problem is they haven’t figured out how to take off the safety catch yet
By Richard Hall of The Arsenal Chap
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