Jack Wilshere has always seemed to be one of Arsene Wenger’s favourites, and Le Prof usually is prepared to drop better performing Arsenal midfielders to make room for the English terrier. But Jack has been out injured for most of the season (again!) and this year has played just two half-hour stints against Swansea and Man United before being in the starting XI against Sunderland.
The arrivals of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil and the re-emergence of Coquelin and Ramsey has made competition for a place in the starting midfield much more intense, especially with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also fighting for a place as well. Wenger has such an abundance of talent at his disposal that it is no wonder that Wilshere is worried about breaking back into the starting line-up, and also whether lack of playing time will affect his England future as well. In fact he is worried that Wenger may even deem him to be surplus to requirements completely!
‘I would be hurt if they sold me,’ Wilshere said in an interview with the Mail. ‘I want Arsenal to want me. So if they didn’t want me, it would hurt. It would be strange playing for another club. I went to Bolton on loan and that was strange.
‘I feel like I’m ready to play now and that’s not going to change. I want to play more minutes before the end of the season and then I’ll have to wait until next season and see what the boss’s plans are for me, for the team.
‘I want to play first-team football. I want to play in the Premier League, the Champions League and I want to continue playing for England. If I’m going to do that, I have to play for my club and put in good performances for my club because there are other English midfielders who are doing that in the Premier League.
‘You can’t stop the speculation or do anything about it. I have not spoken to the boss about it at all. He has not mentioned it to me. I’ve not mentioned anything to him. At the moment, I need to get back in the team. The speculation about my future started when I was injured. You just want to get back out there and get back to what you love doing and just concentrate on that.’
Wenger has often talked in the past about how Wilshere is pencilled in to be part of Arsenal’s “English core”, but the constant injury problems and worries about his ability in comparison to his team-mates may make it harder for him to be a regular starter. There is also a growing feeling amongst the fans that Arsenal are unlikely to win if Wilshere plays (not helped by not winning any of the three games he has been involved with since his return).
Could it be possible that Jack may consider leaving Arsenal to seek more first-team opportunities. I am thinking that Wenger has been making him wait so that he tries harder when he finally gets on the pitch, which certainly seems to have been proved last night.
So after that performance, SHOULD he be worried on that score?