In Jack Wilshere’s absence through injury, Arsene Wenger has stumbled upon a wonderfully efficient team selection.
Santi Cazorla has taken Wilshere’s position in the team as the deeper of two attacking midfielders in front of Francis Coquelin, with Mesut Ozil ahead of them, and we have won eleven of our last twelve fixtures in all competitions – with only the north London derby defeat to Spurs blotting the copybook.
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That leaves Wilshere with a real fight to regain his place, and finally live up to the potential which we all saw in his 2010-11 breakthrough campaign.
There is no use talking about Wilshere’s off field antics as they has already been documented enough and, like Arsene Wenger pointed out, what he does during his free time is his business and only he can decide how he behaves and presents himself to the outside world.
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What I want to talk about is his talent which he has in abundance. As demonstrated in his famous goal against Norwich City last season, Wilshere is able to play intricate one-twos around the box, can orchestrate play from midfield as he showed against Barcelona when he first came through as he has good link up play and he is willing to track back and defend for the team. These attributes make him a useful player to have but he has too many weaknesses that mask his strengths.
Wilshere holds on to the ball too long delaying counter attacks that would have otherwise resulted in a goal, his through balls – contrary to popular belief – are not as penetrative as they should be, his ability to spot a pass in that split second before the defender reacts is limited, and he does not have that instinct to run in to the box like Aaron Ramsey and thus does not score as many goals.
Wilshere has not demonstrated that he is undroppable from the team and the only reason I can explain it is he seems to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Good link up play when orchestrating play is all well and good but it does not help when the ball keeps getting intercepted and play keeps breaking down. This is the reason why he plays in different positions for England and Arsenal as coaches seem to be a loss at which position to play him in order to make the most of his talents.
Some of his strengths and weakness are inbuilt while others have to be taught or learning through experience. Jack Wilshere just needs to focus on his strengths and refine them in order to be the best that we all know he can be.