Jack Wilshere hailed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for his patience and experience in managing his comeback from injury, with the England midfielder feeling the pressure to return to fitness in time for World Cup selection.
Roy Hodgson named the 22-year-old in his 23-man traveling squad for the trip to Brazil despite returning in the latter stages of the season, suffering broken a bone in his foot while on international duty in March.
Wilshere was feeling the heat and would have been devastated had he not made the cut, but is very thankful after conversations with Arsene Wenger made him ease back into action, preventing him facing a relapse.
Wilshere, who is set to earn his 16th cap against Peru, revealed how he thought his place in the World Cup side was under severe scrutiny and Wenger’s wise words played an important role in his recovery.
He reportedly said:
I did speak to Arsene because I came back training and I was panicking a bit about the squad.
I wanted to be in it. I went to him and said I thought I was ready.
But he said ‘No you are not; you need to train if you are to have a good World Cup, you need a good fitness base and you will be right in every aspect’.
And that is what I am now. I knew that I would be fit it was just down to whether the manager thought I was ready and whether I felt ready myself as well.
Unfortunately I have been in that position a lot, wondering how long it takes to come back and get back to the same level but I knew a bone would take six weeks.
Wilshere has yet to play in a major international tournament after missing Euro 2012 through his serious ankle injury. The midfielder revealed he would have been ‘devastated’ had he missed the trip to Brazil this summer.
The England No7 added:
If I’d been left out I would have been devastated.
It would have been because I wasn’t fit and wasn’t playing but I just wanted to be here.
I knew the work I had to do and if I got here I could prove to the manager that I am ready.
And I have to thank him, too, because he didn’t see much of me at the end of the season, although he kept in contact, as did Gary Neville.
I like to think he saw enough of me throughout the season and he knew what I could do if I was fit I would do my best in the team.
My last start was that Denmark game in March. It’s been a long time and I haven’t played a game. I am looking forward to getting out there. I had a little taste at the end of the season and now I just want to play.
The World Cup is a dream for any footballer, and someone who works as hard and is dedicated as Wilshere deserves a shot this summer. Thankfully he has managed to return to fitness in time, playing a vital part in Arsenal’s FA cup triumph, injecting some much needed venom into the midfield during extra time.
As he is fresh and recuperated after a spell on the sidelines, this summers tournament represents a good opportunity for him to regain sharpness ahead of next season, providing he comes away unscathed.
Good luck to the Englishman, can’t wait to watch him in action for the Three Lions this summer.