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Arsene Wenger has a tough decision to make regarding Wilshere's future.

Should Arsenal hand Jack Wilshere a new contract?

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He has always been regarded as "the future of English football" since bursting onto the scene as a 16-year-old, but should Jack Wilshere be awarded a new contract by Arsene Wenger? 

Xavi was quoted by the Mirror saying these kind words in November last year about Wilshere. He's not the only one to have praised the Arsenal midfielder either. 

Nearly three years ago Bastian Schweinsteiger was quoted by Sky Sports saying: "In his position, he is one of the best players there is."

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He also reportedly convinced Steven Gerrard not to retire from England duty early in 2012, because the former Liverpool midfielder thought he was a "fantastic talent". 

The worrying thing for Wilshere is that most of these comments were a while ago, is it now too much of a risk for the Gunners to give him a new deal?  

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Injury Prone

Injury prone probably doesn't cut it for the Arsenal player. The Gunners are now halfway through their Premier League campaign, but Wilshere, who recently turned 24, hasn't kicked a ball this season. 

In fact, he has only made 14 appearances in the last 18 months. The Stevenage-born midfielder will be thankful his miserable 2015 is finally over and will be hoping for better this calendar year. 

He racked up a measly 206 minutes last year. It makes for even more grim reading that he only started two matches for the north London club in 2015. 

The former Luton youth player watched from the sidelines whilst his team battered Aston Villa 4-0 in the FA Cup final in May. He was at least able to make a 14-minute cameo on the Wembley pitch, but the scoreline was already 3-0 at the time.

His England career in recent years wouldn't lift his spirits either. Coming on in the final moments against Italy in the World Cup with his side 2-1 down. Then he watched from the bench as his national team were knocked out from the tournament by Uruguay with a game to spare. 

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Some positives for the former Bolton man, were that he accustomed himself to the holding role in the European qualifiers, which went on to spark a perfect campaign for Roy Hodgson's men.

That wouldn't have been easily forgotten by the England boss and could be enough to get him into the Euro 2016 squad. Should he be fit that is. 

Top Talent

It's clear to see the talent that Wilshere has. It's not often you get World Cup winners like Xavi and Schweinsteiger heaping praise on you. 

Despite making little impact for the Gunners on the pitch in 2015, he still managed to win the Match of the Day goal of the season award for his strike against West Brom on the final day. Not to mention he won it the year before too. 

It seems like an age ago since Wilshere made his stamp on European football with a dominant display against Barcelona. That's because in February it will be five years ago since that game happened. 

He has shown glimpses of his talent for Arsenal and for England in recent years. If Wenger can get him on the pitch regularly he will undoubtedly show it. But unfortunately for him, that's a big if. 

Current contract 

This is far from an easy decision for Wenger. Wilshere currently has two and half years left of his contract. Does he let him prove himself over the next 12 months to see if he is worthy of a new contract? 

Then Arsenal are running the risk that if Wilshere does perform, other suitors might be interested and could get him at a cut price with his contract running out. 

Although he has suggested that he wouldn't leave the Gunners in the past, he could be tempted to ask for a higher wage packet. Something Wenger may be reluctant to do, knowing a new long-term injury could be just around the corner. 

Nevertheless, he wouldn't want him to go to a title rival such as Manchester City, who were reportedly linked with a move for him in the summer

Wenger has let star players run their contracts down before, with Robin van Persie moving to arch rivals Manchester United in 2012. 

The Arsenal boss can't let that happen again, but can they afford to give him a new contract either? Paying a reported £50,000 a week for a player who is usually lying on the injury table isn't a healthy return. 

Not to forget, another serious injury could prevent him from ever reaching the heights we all thought he would. 

A good idea for Wenger to gauge whether he should hand the England international a new contract, would be to see what he does from now until the end of the season and his potential performances in this summer's Euros. 

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If he performs well when he returns and has a good tournament for England, then that might be a good indication that they still have a player worthy of hefty money. 

Then again, if he fails to make an appearance this season, and doesn't feature in France, it might be a good idea to let his contract run down. 

It's a tough decision to make for the Arsenal manager, it doesn't look like he is worthy of a new contract now, so waiting until the summer might be the best policy. It looks like he is loyal to the club and should be if the manager is constantly backing him through his torrid time in rehabilitation.

That means Wenger can probably afford to let him run into his final 18 months of his current deal knowing Wilshere would probably be happy to stay. Now probably isn't the right time to be rewarded, Wilshere needs to prove himself again. 

Should Arsenal offer Wilshere a new contract now or bide their time? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
Arsenal
Thierry Henry
Premier League
Football
Jack Wilshere

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