There is a strong belief among many Arsenal fans and people in the football media that Arsene Wenger can have a tendency to be stubborn. They will point at his refusal, transfer window after transfer window, to sign the players to strengthen the positions in the Arsenal squad that most people think we need.
And then there are his tactics, which rarely change, and his way of leaving the making of substitutions until it is so late in the game that the players coming on hardly have time to get used to the pace of the game, much less have an influence on it.
And I am sure that many people will see the words of Jack Wilshere this week, reported by ESPN, as just one more example of the Frenchman’s stubborn mind set. Because our young midfielder has revealed that he has spoken to Wenger about possibly being used for Arsenal in the same way that Roy Hodgson has begun to use him for England with considerable success, but the Prof seems dead set against it, even though Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini have sometimes struggled in the deep lying midfield role.
Wilshere said, “Yes [it would be good if he played the same position for club and country] but the formation we play at Arsenal is a bit different.
“I wouldn’t mind playing it at Arsenal and I’ve already spoken to the manager about it, and he doesn’t see me playing that role just yet.
“I enjoy my role for Arsenal as well because I can get a bit further forward, but I wouldn’t mind to play the holding role for Arsenal. That’s the manager’s decision. At the moment, I think Arteta is injured and Flamini is playing that role. It’s down to him. If he wants me to play there, I’ll play it.
“I’ve said before, after the first game in Switzerland, that I’d only get better and better. It was my first game ever playing in that role. The main thing is the coaches are getting their points across in terms of what they want me to do, not just over here but when we’re away from here. We’re working on it, because I don’t play that role for my club, but I am really enjoying it.”
While I can understand Jack wanting to try his new position out at club level, I can also see why Wenger is cautious about it, because we have seen the Gunners become overrun in central midfield many times in the Premier League, where the game is faster and more frenetic than at international level. It could also curtail the attacking side of Jack’s game, which Wenger clearly feels is his best talent, so perhaps he is right to be a bit reluctant.
However, Wilshere is clearly adding discipline, awareness, tackling and a great long range passing ability to his game and it might be a good idea for the Gunners to make use of that a bit more, especially in games against the weaker sides when we dominate the ball.
Where do you stand on the issue Gooners, stubborn or careful?