The international week usually provides plenty of food for thought for England fans and pundits alike. Their familiar 'just enough' victories against San Marino and Estonia were a mere sidenote to Roy Hodgson's creative use of Arsenal star Jack Wilshere.
While the competition was meek in comparison to what lies ahead, the 22-year-old stood out in an otherwise dreary 180 minutes of football. Wilshere put in two man of the match displays in a new holding midfield role, providing hope that the underachiever could flourish for club and country after all.
Before delving further, it is important to check our enthusiasm. England will need to play much better if they are to reach the latter stages of Euro 2016 and Wilshere is far from the finished article in his adopted position.
But what the Arsenal star did against Estonia and San Marino was provide a glimpse into a potentially bright future. Excitement stems from the fact that, for some time now, it appeared he would never fulfil his massive potential.
Although only 22-years-old, Wilshere is already a seasoned professional. He made his Premier League debut as a 16-year-old against Blackburn Rovers in 2009, becoming Arsenal's youngest ever Premier League player.
He later went on loan to Bolton Wanderers and returned for the 2010/11 season as a key player. Playing 35 games in the Premier League for the Gunners, Wilshere became a key player for the Gunners, but was overused, and suffered a stress fracture to his ankle.
Arsene Wenger may not have officially taken the blame for Wilshere's injury troubles since then, but his reliance on one so young was bound to take its toll eventually. Wilshere missed the entirety of the next campaign and has failed to start over 20 Premier League games in a single season since.
While obviously vulnerable to injury, Wilshere failed to change his playing style and continued to dive into 50/50 challenges. It was such a challenge that led to Daniel Agger's challenge, breaking Wilshere's foot and essentially ruling him out of the World Cup.
He would have to change his playing style. Wilshere's trickery in and around the box left him as a target for opposition and the next serious injury seems inevitable. However, putting him in defensive midfield could solve his problems.
Instead of looking for pocket's of space around the box, Wilshere was charged with being the deepest of England's fresh-look diamond formation. While Wilshere's short-passing ability has never been in doubt, few had seen him in a role that necessitated the mobilisation of his ability to complete the long range variety.
But time and again Wilshere found the runs of Wayne Rooney as if he had been playing there all his life. If the Manchester United striker had been his usual self, Wilshere would have walked off the pitch with several assists to his name.
The passing was assisted with Wilshere's exceptional confidence on the ball, which allowed him to take on Estonia's players whenever possible. Few can drop their shoulder as swiftly as Wilshere and he is not afraid to use that ability.
Wilshere's performance was not without its pitfalls, however. In fact, against a better side, of which there are many, several of Wilshere's mistakes would have been punished more severely.
The concern lies with Wilshere's ability to break up inevitable counter attacks. Even against Estonia, Wilshere was forced to take a cheap yellow card for a professional foul having lost the ball.
For Arsenal, there are options. Wilshere needs a midfield enforcer to provide defensive cover. All the great deep-lying midfielders had combative players to do the dirty work. Xavi has relied on Sergio Busquets while Andrea Pirlo has benefited from the noticeable presence of Gennaro Gattuso at AC Milan and with Italy and Arturo Vidal at Juventus.
Arsenal have targets in the transfer market. The likes of Sami Khedira and William Carvalho will likely be available for the right price in January and Wenger has money to spend.
However, the elephant in the room is growing more noticeable. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, a defensive midfielder, so where does Mesut Ozil fit in? Does he fit in at all?
When Wenger signed Ozil in the summer of 2013, he could not have expected Ramsey to come to the fore so quickly. The Welshman appears capable of being the focal point of this new team as an attacking midfielder with Wilshere lying deeper.
What makes this predicament even worse is Ozil's poor form. The Germany international seems more than discontent with life at the Emirates Stadium and with good reason–Wenger simply can't fit him into the team when Ramsey and Wilshere are fit.
Putting Ozil out wide finds his pace and ability to pass player desperately wanting and his fresh knee injury has added to his misery. A £30 million offer from Bayern Munich give Wenger a chance to end the nightmare and, although it would be a sad end to an ambitious project, it would facilitate Wilshere perfectly.
Without Ozil in the team, WIlshere and Ramsey can flourish in the central midfield positions. Wilshere can stand as Arsenal's main provider while Ramsey can take on a role similar to Frank Lampard's whilst at Chelsea.
Although Ozil is a nice signing to have; a superstar that attracts fans and, therefore, shirt sales, there is no point keeping a player who does not want to be there and may be hindering other committed stars from flourishing.
There a few more committed than Wilshere and few who want to succeed more. While Ozil's discontent is merely hearsay at the moment, it would come as no surprise if he was found to be wanting out of Arsenal.
Losing him would leave Arsenal's squad weaker, but if it allows the likes of Wilshere to develop quicker, Wenger could soon find that he has a player of Ozil's quality within their ranks once again.
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