Pressure does funny things to people. For some, it's crippling. Some players hide from the pressure situations, hoping their team mates carry them through. But for special players, pressure is a challenge. A challenge that spurs them on, pushing them to be better.
Jack Wilshere is a special player. Fabio Capello has called him unusually good for someone so young. When Cesc Fabregas left Arsenal to go back to Barcelona, he took to Twitter to tell Arsenal fans not to worry because they had the best English midfielder around.
Intentional or not, statements like these put pressure on people. And Wilshere has had the pressure of saving Arsenal thrust on his young shoulders.
In the dark days of his struggles with injuries, Arsenal as a club faltered. Fabregas and Samir Nasri moved on, Robin van Persie wouldn’t sign a new contract and the unrest surrounding the club grew.
But amidst all this, one ray of hope kept shining for the Arsenal fans. "Just wait until Jack comes back" was the talk of the terraces.
Behind the scenes however, things were dark for Wilshere. Targeted comeback dates came and went. The midfielder picked up secondary, but equally serious injuries. There were very real fears that one of the most talented players that Arsenal have ever produced wouldn’t play top level football again.
But the 21-year-old made his comeback, in a surprise start against QPR.
Wilshere performed admirably, nothing like a player coming back from 14 months on the sideline. He flew into tackles, demanded the ball under pressure, and looked like the Wilshere that we all missed.
There have been a few hiccups along his comeback trail, including a red card at Old Trafford, but the spirit is back. He shows the desire that Arsenal have been accused of lacking at times. When the Gunners go behind, he picks up the tempo for Arsenal, and others follow. He picks the ball up from deep and surges beyond markers, he directs and dictates play and he leads by example.
There is a growing feeling around Arsenal that Jack Wilshere should be the next Arsenal captain, while some say he shouldn’t have that added pressure put on his game.
However, he’s overcome adversity throughout his career, and special players do special things under pressure. The captain’s armband is a pressure that Wilshere would handle with ease.
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