Arsenal star can be England's Zidane – Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere can become England's version of Zinedine Zidane.

The Frenchman defended Wilshere's disappointing performance after Tuesday night's 0-0 draw in Ukraine – and suggested that the midfielder will become England's most important player if he can play six months without injury.

"If Jack Wilshere has the same game at Arsenal we just say 'okay, today he was not at his best' - but when he has that game in the national team suddenly everyone questions your ability," Wenger was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "The players find it a bit more difficult to handle (things) in the national team with that kind of mental pressure which comes from everybody.

"National teams need always a guy who absorbs this type of pressure and takes it, we (France) had Zidane - when the France team played well it was all Zidane, but (that meant) the others could (just) play. You need a good generation, but as well also need one player.

"Be positive. Jack can take that (role). He is young, only 22. He has the capacity to do that, but he needs to play six months without any problem."

Zidane retired after the 2006 World Cup final – during which he was sent off for an infamous extra-time headbutt on Marco Materazzi – but is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time.

The gifted midfielder won three FIFA World Player of the Year awards during his illustrious career, as well as multiple titles with Juventus, Real Madrid and France, who he guided to World Cup glory on home soil 15 years ago.

Wilshere, meanwhile, is still seen as a future Arsenal and England captain despite his brief injury-hit career.

"Jack has the personality to be a top, top, top player. He has gone through a difficult period," Wenger added. "The problem in the modern game, you need to be absolutely 100% physically (fit) to express your talent, or you don't.

"At the moment Jack is not completely at his best physically, that is why people start to question his performances, but I think he is a fantastic footballer and he will show that. He (just) needs consistency now."

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England Football
Zinedine Zidane
Premier League

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