Many people were angry at Jack Wilshere’s inclusion in England’s 23-man squad for Euro 2016, particularly ahead of Danny Drinkwater. After all, the Arsenal man made just three Premier League appearances last season whilst the Leicester City midfielder started 35 league games and was a key part of the Foxes’ title-winning campaign.
For that reason, Wilshere is fortunate that Roy Hodgson has shown faith in him, however, he brings a touch of class to this England team and his ability to unlock defences makes him one of the most creative weapons at the England manager’s disposal.
Similarly to Hodgson, Germany coach Joachim Low included the influential Bastian Schweinsteiger in his squad despite the 31-year-old being tormented by injuries last season. The Manchester United veteran hasn’t completed 90 minutes since January, yet Low’s decision was met with far less criticism in comparison to Wilshere.
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In truth, Drinkwater simply wasn’t needed since England already have players like Jordan Henderson, James Milner and most notably Eric Dier who can close down the opposition and keep the ball moving in midfield.
Wilshere helped England qualify
Some people have seemingly forgotten that Wilshere played an instrumental role in getting England to the tournament to begin with. The young midfielder started half of the ten qualifying matches and excelled in a deep-lying playmaker role as well as scoring twice with a couple of sensational strikes in Slovenia.
Despite his injury problems down the years, Wilshere is the fourth most-capped player in the England squad behind 30-year-old Gary Cahill, goalkeeper Joe Hart and captain Wayne Rooney. Most importantly, Wilshere still has the ability to change the course of a game, as he showed in the recent 1-0 friendly win over Portugal.
He came on in the 66th minute and got on the ball straightaway, trying to add some much-needed impetus to England’s dull attacking play on the night. He eventually helped set up Chris Smalling’s late winner and as result of his 24-minute cameo, Hodgson feels that Wilshere can pull the strings in their opening Euro 2016 match and possesses the passing ability to break down an injury-hit Russia side.
What does Wilshere bring to the squad?
With the exception of Dele Alli, Wilshere is the only English central midfielder who naturally looks to penetrate, drive forward at the opposition and who has the technical skill to create something out of nothing. The Arsenal star is also blessed with vision, imagination, tactical versatility, incredibly quick feet and excellent passing qualities.
Wilshere is never passive when he’s on the pitch, he always tries to play the game on the front foot and looks to commit defenders at every opportunity. With his quality and combination play in and around the box, the gifted playmaker can link midfield with attack better than most players in England’s squad.
What role will he play at Euro 2016?
Wilshere’s lack of games means he probably isn’t ready to play a full 90 minutes at international level. However, by his own admission, he has improved his sharpness and match fitness with each and every training session and is ready to play a key role for the Three Lions at Euro 2016.
England’s lacklustre performance against ten-man Portugal last week would have almost certainly forced Hodgson to consider starting the likes of Wilshere, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling in tomorrow night’s game at the Stade Velodrome.
The positives for Wilshere are that he’s proved his fitness during the three warm-up matches and he’s shown that he can make an impact coming off the bench, which is vital in tournament football. His potential to be a top player has never been questioned and he could end up being one of England’s most important players at the European Championships.
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