Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jack's "Mediocrity"

Jack Wilshere’s full England debut has drawn mixed reactions from the media. While there are those that acknowledge he was played out of position, in a formation he is not used to and still managed to complete a 93% passing success, others that are more critical of him expecting a shower of goals and perhaps some Ronaldo style show-boating

Admittedly, when I watched Wilshere at the start of the season against Liverpool, I was slightly concerned. I’m not of those that would say he looked out of place in the team. He seemed to be lost at times being unable to read the game and while the media were glorifying him, I was starting to get concerned how he would handle the pressure coupled with some average performances.

Then dawned the game against the Spuds in the Carling Cup. Albeit both teams went for weaker line-ups, the game was a real show of Wilshere’s ability. He was constantly hacked down by the Spuds midfielders who just could not handle his bursts of pace, quick one-twos and the way he would breeze past them with complete control of the ball reminiscent of Alexander Hleb. He kept his temper in check throughout the game, not reacting to fouls and attempts to displace his positioning.

In many ways, Jack needed this type of a game where he could be given complete control of the midfield. The game no doubt built his confidence and he hasn’t looked back since. The Champions League game in Belgrade a few days later helped him to build on the confidence and bring belief in his own ability. This was especially highlighted by the quick one-twos he played with Arshavin and his ability to command play in the centre.

This is where many of us truly grasped what he is capable of. We saw flashes of it in the Emirates Cup where he toyed with Rangers midfield and defence, making them look amateur. Wenger kept faith with Jack from the very first game in Anfield at the start of the season and it has paid off.

Arsene has always emphasised that the top players in the world are the ones that know how to do the basics well. Christiano Ronaldo is a prime example of that. When he started off in the Premier League his only dimension of playing was to do 10 step overs and leave the ball 20 yards behind – a trick that defenders learnt to deal with. Over time, Fergie drove home the idea of keeping things simple and using his pace as a weapon and it changed the player.

That brings me to last night’s game. Wilshere’s passing and positioning was immaculate and a real testament to the way Arsenal play the game. Every pass he made was followed by taking up a position to receive again. He constantly formed the triangles to make sure there is always an option to pass to and receive. Possession is 9/10th’s of the law and as long as you keep possession, the opponent cannot score. It’s basics but key foundations to a great player and the rules Jack abides to in his game.

Wilshere has a while to go before he is mentioned in the same breath as other world class players, but the signs are looking good as long as he remains focused and with a team that concentrates on building technical players.

On to the Wolves game, I believe bar Djorou, we should stick to playing our first team and forget about the Champions league until 6pm on Saturday. We have a fantastic opportunity this season with our rivals having the more tricky fixtures to play and looking fragile away from home.

Arshavin looks like he’s getting back on form and Fabregas, Van Persie and Song were all spared from playing internationals midweek. This will no doubt give us a small boost before some very important games. Wolves will be tricky after their weekend result and let’s not forget that they have taken big points off the top teams this season. We were fortunate to some extraordinary saves by Lukasz Fabianski in the reverse fixture at the Molineux earlier in the season. Last season, we needed a late late goal from Bendtner to rescue us in this fixture. Let’s hope we don’t leave it so late again this year.


Final Note: I could not let this go without having a dig. People never really realise how truly amazing 03/04 season was. So this is to the Manure fans…INVINCIBLES? YOU’RE HAVING A LAUGH!!!


  1. Agree, good post. The thing that sets wilshere apart from other talented youngsters is that he is such a complete player. I really expected him to play on the wing, in a similar role to nasri or rosicky, and certainly never imagined him to be anything close to a defensive midfielder, but he could easily play any midfield position.
    He *may* never be quite as good as fabregas as a pure attacking midfielder, although I dont put anything past him at this point, but he already looks to be a more complete footballer. There are young players throughout europe and even england who could rival him or even better him for technical ability etc (mceachran, eriksen, hazard) but none of them have such a rounded game. He is similar in many ways to players like van der vaert, sneijder and xavi, who can all do a bit of everything.

  2. Agree with your view Davi. Looking through the Arsenal squad, I do believe that he will eventually become more attacking.

    I do also think Aaron Ramsey will take up the more Fabregas role at some point.

    You are spot on that he can play anywhere in midfield. The fact that he can do the basics so well and can keep possession of the ball, there is no reason to not believe that he will not be as good as Xavi or Cesc.

  3. Seeing Jack at a very young age you could see he will be a top player, I agree he will eventually play in a more attacking player.

    In my view his position is not where he played last night unless he has a Song or a Defensive Midfielder alongside him this is why England were cut open frequently in the first half.

    I personally do not think he will be as good as Xavi,Cesc or Gerrard although different midfielders, that does not mean he won't be a top midfielder.

  4. If someone can compare Wilshere to Gerald, and even say he wont be even as good as Gerald, then there is no point of talking about him. He is average! Bringing Gerald in the fold is what has destroyed the England National Team, overhype!

  5. Gerrard is a utility man in midfield and that is very useful to have. Wilshere has not got the physique, but he is very intelligent in his touches.

    If you watch the game against Newcastle, there was a point when he received a pass and with one touch he beat the man marking him and by the second touch he was 10 yards ahead of his marker. Only the very top midfielders find it in their capacity to pull off something like that which is why the potential of him matching a Cesc or a Xavi is there. There is still a long way before he gets there but lets not forget that he is only 19 years old.

    At 19, most people did not even know who Thierry Henry or Andrey Arshavin were.

  6. Every Coniser knows who Henry and Arshavin were (yes, I know you said most), but can see the comparison between Jack and Xavi/Fabregas and as you said the lad has just recently turned 19.

    If he is 70% as good as those two then arsenal will have an amazing player.

    He needs to keep his feet on the groung and sure he is at the right club, but the next Manager at the club will be important and future influences.

    Gerrard is not a Utility player, he is good at most positions sure (even right-back), but Gerrard is and always will be an attacking midfielder, this perception by the media, Andy Gray and Chav Redknapp that he is a central midfielder is rubbish.

    Gerrard is not disciplined enough to play as a centre mid.

    To the guy who was saying Gerald who is a girl which is different to Stevie G and my comparisons, if you read I said different mid's - I will hold judgement about him being as good as Gerrard, Xavi and Fab as they are World Class in their position (I am very hesitant to use World Class).

    Both Jack and Aaron Ramsey are top drawer, but if they carry on they have the opportunity to be as good as those 3.

  7. Totally different subject, but you should do an article on what players Arsenal need and no Championship Manager comments like I want Messi for £40m.