After Roy Hodgson played the Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere in an unfamiliar defensive midfield, or Pirlo, position for England the other night, there has been quite a bit of speculation over his best position. And Arsene Wenger has tried him in a few different roles for Arsenal as well, on both flanks and in the number 10 role behind the forward line.
But his most common position and the one in which most people see as his best is the box-to-box role. But at Arsenal over the last year or so, that spot has been taken by Aaron Ramsey. It was really unlucky for Jack that he suffered that broken foot challenge from Agger just as he was really finding his form again there with Ramsey injured.
It looks like the Welshman may be injured again for Saturday’s big clash with Man City, so the natural choice to replace him is Wilshere. But if Arsene Wenger really wants to get the best out of the Englishman in this game, I think it is vital that he has the freedom to express himself, which in my eyes means putting Mathieu Flamini alongside him.
Flamini is much more disciplined and defensively minded than Arteta and Jack knows that, so having the Frenchman alongside him should stop Jack being caught in two minds. Paul Scholes, a man who knows all about that central midfield role, has been talking about Wilshere in The Independent and feels that he needs a defensive midfielder next to him, just as he and Frank Lampard had, to allow him to really flourish.
Scholes said, “Jack has great ability and at some point I hope that he will be in a position to score goals and to create them. But I just do not believe that playing in front of the back four, on his own, suits him.
“Wilshere is an attacking midfielder, as I was for most of my career. He is not a defensive midfielder and I feel at the moment he is stuck between the two roles. He is being asked to control the play from a deep position, which does not play to his strengths.
“As an attacking midfielder at United, I was lucky to play alongside some of the best defensively-minded midfielders in the game: Nicky Butt, Roy Keane and Michael Carrick. What they gave me was the confidence to get forward, to take risks and score goals safe in the knowledge that they would provide the cover.
“It was not just me at United who benefited from that kind of partnership. For much of his career at Chelsea, Frank Lampard was given the same protection by the likes of Claude Makélélé.
“I feel that Wilshere does not have that freedom. He is caught between being an attacking midfielder and one with defensive responsibilities. At Arsenal he does not have the security of a top-level defensive midfielder alongside him. It is the same with England.”
I still think that Arsenal need to sign a player like that, but at the moment Flamini is the closest thing we have got and against Man City, we need his energy and aggression and Wilshere needs the freedom to attack them. Do you agree?