Is Wenger being stubborn or cautious over Wilshere’s Arsenal role?

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?

Tags Arteta England Flamini Hodgson


  1. Some consistency in his play and avoiding injuries will really help Wilshere’s game and will help both club and country identify which is his best position. Definitely in our current set up and squad its impossible for him to play in that position. Our opponents would tear us apart and wipe the pitch with our arse.

    In this current Arsenal team the best position for Wilshere is either b2b or AM. As he matures mentally and physically, and with age you never know, he might turn into our own Alonso. The fact that he can play multiple positions is a plus especially for a modern day midfielder, but if he could be excellent or a specialist even in one of them, that would be great for us.

    But what do I know, I don’t get 8m to think about such.

  2. The role you play depends on formation and people around you too. The way i see why Wenger play Wilshere at that position is because Arsenal always lack of penetration when attacking. If you ask me who has the most penetration power among Arsenal midfielders then my answer is Wilshere. He can dribble, and not just dribble, he has good 1st touch and he always aims at opponent goal to dribble. But he tries it so hard sometimes and get beaten. Wenger’s job is to train and complete Wilshere’s final ball. Once he’s done that, Wilshere will be the real threat to every team. It is not about stubborn or careful, it is that you should believe in what you do and take responsibility if you fail. If you do your job by listen to other people, you’ll be fired anyday and live in regret.

  3. When he shows his so call defensive discipline against teams in the league in what so ever position wenger puts him in, then you can give him that chance.

    Wilshere off the ball work as been poor and in truth has not been that great for england also, fortunately england has been winning so its not that noticeable (YET, the media will be on it when england lose). The two poorest thing about wilshere defending is, the way he throws himself to the ground tackling, likely getting himself or the opponent injured with the latter being a red card offence and the other thing about wilshere is the fact he lacks the urgency to get back behind the ball when it is lost or to chase down is opponent.
    We need a Monster of a DM forhim to play beside then he can become a deep playmaker

  4. I’d have Wilshere there over Flamini or Arteta. Until we get a new CDM and providing all our players in the best first 11 are fit, this would be my lineup:

    Debuchy Mert Kos Gibbs
    Walcott Ramsey Ozil Sanchez

  5. Another thing, notice when Jack’s playing for England he’s always pinging balls around the pitch beautifully? Like how he picked out Ox for the goal with so much precision? Well he doesn’t do that for Arsenal purely because Wenger’s instructions are to run at the players and draw the fouls in and subsequently, he gets bloody injured.

    1. @ matt,when you play third rate team as it is the case in this cup qualification it s easy to shine.The real talk starts against first class team and there everybody is exposed.
      Come on,Wilshere 5 foot 8 fragile like chines porcelain,on the ground for a brush,clumsy tackler,slow.,you want him to be the DM for Arsenal?
      If that the case you deserve Arsene as a coach and you can come back after 20 years for a serious trophy.
      Wilshr is at best a squad player,he is not good enough in any position to be a first team player for Arsenal.He might be if he works hard and improve his style of play but he is the player who is a part of the team that is fifth actually in the PL.
      Let s be objective,you hype up players in national and club team who are just not that good.
      Don t believe the hype.Public Enemy

  6. Is Wenger stubborn? Yes, he is.

    Is Wenger tactically flexible?

    NO, he isn’t.

    Does Wenger take advice?

    No, he doesn’t and won’t (because HE IS STUBBORN).

    Unless you give something a try, how will you know if it will work or not?

    1. One basic reason why Wilshere should play from the deep is that he won’t be tackled as often as he would if he plays as an AM.

      When Jack plays as an AM, he likes hold onto the ball unnecessarily, he doesn’t release the ball as quickly as he should and he often exposes himself to bad tackles. But if he plays for us from behind, like a DM, he would be naturally compelled to give the ball out quickly enough and initiate attack swiftly from the back.

  7. Hogdson might have played Jack a little bit deep because of his injury record. Pushing him up could have made him face hard tackling defenders. After all we know playing Jack in the DM hole is like baiting disaster. We love Jack’s footballing heart, but he needs to take one step at a time. We all know he is good but still raw in certain aspects of his game. Am still waiting for that day when he would shed off that “Wenger’s baby” skin and step in the shoes of a really footballer, compared to the likes of Pogba.

  8. 2010-11 season i honestly thought he’ll end up as a deep-lying midfielder, he was great at winning the ball and keeping possession. He’s still 22 and fit again, there’s still massive room for improvement. If he tries harder he can win the PFA young player award for 2 more years.

  9. The back 4 and 2DM should be absolute tall/athletic/aggressive IMO… You can play speedy tiki taka with the front guys all you want but the “wall” should be solid

    1. @Dennis- Xavi, Gatusso were the best in the game but weren’t all that tall so is Arteta. You just need the right technical qualities to play that position. Though I am not saying Jack should be drafted in that position.

  10. Jack is playing it well, Jack wants to play it, wenger wants play Jack, then why not there?? As we have no one reliable player in that position. It worth a try. #COYG

  11. Im sorry but some of you guys are backing jack to play dm because you are english supporters,truth be told you have not played top quality teams.for me to be convinced that jack is ready for this role i want to see him vs pogba,vidal,toni kroos and koke.oh by the way the media has started again to overhype the kids performance

  12. I’d like him in that more defensive role. He seems to be making a good go of it for now, and some of his through balls are delightful. Wenger has to take notice….surely?

    I think Wenger just doesn’t like putting people in boxes too much, but he will have noticed Wilsheres effectiveness, it’s whether he does anything about it.

    Given that we need someone there, and there are plenty of advanced midfielders, it’s a no brainer….all of which means Wenger will bench him and let him rot.. 😉

  13. Playing Wilsher deep would be smart if we would have someone alongside him. A tall player. Ramsey and Wilsher combo doesnt work.

    Wilsher is not a perfect attacking playing neither and defending one.

    Same with Ramsey.

    But i personaly rate Wilsher more as a player. He is more skilled and has a better undertanding of the game. Passing, Dribblingm, keeping possesion.

    Ramsey tops him at having better stammina and is a better goalscoring thread.

  14. Wilshere cannot play the same role with Arsenal.
    It is like Ozil playing the same position with Germany and Arsenal.

    Wilshere plays deep because he has Milner and Downing to cover “his constant mistake” and keep him free to use the ball.
    At Arsenal it would be catastrophic because we do not have cover behind.
    Our defence is just weak and we do not have a proper DM to protect the back four.

    Same for Ozil. Ozil became world champion playing on the wing, but did you see the German midfield? Nothing to compare with the Arsenal defensive midfield… As a matter of fact nothing to compare with the English midfield. The German are just a level beyond reach.

    Wenger tries to implement tactics with players he does not have.

    Would he play Welbeck and Giroud together, I really doubt it because it is the obvious “route” for improvement. He will not do it because he is rigid and seriously clueless.
    As far as modern football is concerned, he is tactically behind the even average manager. This team only function due to the pure talents of key players.

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