Jack Wilshere failing to fulfil immense potential

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Will Jack Wilshere fulfil his potential?
Will Jack Wilshere fulfil his potential?.

Last month, while making a very rare appearance as a pundit on Sky Sports, former Manchester United star Paul Scholes launched a stinging attack on all things Arsenal, including fan favourite Jack Wilshere.

Scholes claimed that Wilshere had not developed since bursting onto the scene as a fresh-faced 16-year-old in 2008. Back then, the midfielder was tipped to become a superstar for both the Gunners and England, and the hype appeared more than justified - or so we were led to believe - after witnessing some of his early performances.

Despite his tender age and diminutive stature, Wilshere oozed class and didn't look remotely overawed playing against players twice his age and double his size. Arsenal, it seemed, had produced a future world-class star.

However, six years down the line and Scholes is spot on with his assessment of the now 22-year-old. Barring an exceptional performance against Barcelona in the Champions League knockout stages three years ago, Wilshere has flattered to deceive in the biggest matches, and simply hasn't managed to progress at the rate expected.

"Jack Wilshere is the midfielder we have been waiting for," screamed the Guardian, excitedly, after that remarkable display against the Catalan giants in February 2011. Wilshere, against Pep Guardiola's all-conquering side, was the standout performer that night.

But has he produced as good a performance since that evening at the Emirates Stadium? Not even close.

Injuries have undoubtedly hindered the youngster's progress. He didn't play a single match during the 2011-12 campaign, and perhaps that set him back a little.

He has still shown glimpses of real class, but only glimpses. And despite talking the talk off the pitch, Wilshere has failed to back it up with performances on it.

The Gunners need leaders - and Wilshere has leadership qualities that he must bring out during matches in order to inspire those around him. All too often, we see him floating around the pitch without ever really taking the game by the scruff of the neck.

Like almost every other player at Arsenal, Wilshere only truly shines when the rest of the team are playing well. But he needs to be the man to produce a moment of brilliance when the team needs it most.

Wilshere is Arsenal through and through, that much is abundantly clear.

But will he ever scale the heights we all thought he would several years ago?

Paul Scholes
Premier League
Jack Wilshere
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