Estonia 0 – 1 England. Sounds like an uninspiring, insipid match with little to talk about eh… Well I suppose one answer is yes, but if you’re an Arsenal fan there was plenty to talk about, namely the contrasting fortunes of the Arsenal contingent on international duty.
Let’s be honest, Danny Welbeck struggled against Estonia, he seemed to drift in and out of the game and was largely ineffectual before being replaced by Rickie Lambert late on. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made a decent showing again from the bench, and Calum Chambers was solid if not spectacular at right back. However, the main talking point has to be Jack Wilshere.
England were average, decent in patches, but far from their best form which will be required when they meet tougher opposition. On the contrary the performance of Wilshere was anything but average, and I believe it was the best we have seen him in an England shirt.
Sitting deeper in the more defensive role, Wilshere covered the ground well, read the game neatly and served his purpose in snuffing out the limited threat of the Estonians. However, it was going forward where the youngster really impressed, with his range of passing putting his teammates in his shadow.
The majority of his work was simple, short ten yard passes to a man, limiting the danger. But it was the delightful incisive ones which really caught the eye. The dinked through ball to Rooney in the first half was delightful, but the highlight had to be the pass in the 93rd minute which unlocked the Estonians in breathtaking fashion.
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Under pressure Wilshere received the ball, swivelled and clipped a delightful ball in between full back and centre half, dissecting the two perfectly and setting up Rooney perfectly. The England captain missed, but it was the contribution of Jack that was worth talking about. Deservedly he scooped the man of the match award and the plaudits after the game, and Arsenal will be hoping to see more of the same over the coming weeks.
So overall encouraging signs, and it is fantastic to see young Jack returning somewhere near to his best form. A few years ago he was tipped to become the next big thing, and because of injuries and other reasons that hasn’t happened. But now the signs are there that improvement may well be on its way, and if so then Arsenal and England are in for a treat…