Jack Wilshere is Arsenal’s lone England representative at this summers Euro2016 tournament in France, and he is very lucky to be there considering he has only started one game for the Gunners all season. He is obviously held in high regard by Roy Hodgson on his previous form for the Three Lions, but now he has to prove that the manager’s confidence has not been misplaced.
The interesting thing is that, like Ozil and Sanchez, our Jack also has just two years left on his current contract and will expect negotiations on an extension to begin when the new season begins. The big difference is that our two superstars will be bargaining from a position of strength after two solid seasons for the Gunners, whereas Wilshere will be aiming to get a Walcott-sized paycheck mostly based on previous reputation alone. So this makes the Euros even more important for the 25 year-old Englishman.
Not only that, but he will have to be extra special for Wenger, because Le Prof will be wondering if he has room for Jack considering the new competition from Granit Xhaka, the returning Cazorla, Coquelin, El Neny and Wenger’s favourite Aaron Ramsey all vying for the two places on offer in the starting line-up.
So Wenger may be wondering if it is worth giving Wilshere a pay hike, when he may spend most of his time on the bench (or back in the treatment room) especially after Le Prof’s experience with Walcott in the campaign just ended. Perhaps Jack himself may be thinking that he will need to move to another club (like Man City?) to not only get a bigger pay rise, but also to get more time on the pitch.
Wilshere himself hinted that this competition could be an important shop window this summer when he told Arsenal.com: “Every single Premier League manager will be watching every single Premier League footballer [at the Euros],”
“Arsène Wenger will be watching so it is down to me to show what I can do.”
So the pressure is on Jack to perform, and there may be much more at stake for him than just trying to win the trophy for his country. He feels that he is ready for the challenge ahead. “I feel fit and ready,” he said. “I said that when Roy first named his 26-man squad. I said I was ready to be in it. If I didn’t feel like I was ready to be in the squad, I would have said so to the manager and the staff.
“I had been training before [the Manchester City game] for six or seven weeks, so I was desperate to get on to the pitch. It probably was the moment I thought I was ready.”
I hope you are Jack, because I have the feeling you are playing for your future. You are no longer the up-and-coming promising youngster. You have to prove you are the finished product right now.
Good luck with that!