Wenger won’t stop Jack Wilshere playing for England

I was very impressed with Arsene Wenger’s measured response to Jack Wilshere’s inclusion in Stuart Pearce’s provisional 40-man squad for June’s European Championship finals in Denmark.

This story has been hyped up by the media into some sort of major showdown between Pearce and Wenger. Given the increasing irrational way – which is generally out of character for him – Wenger has been behaving over the past few weeks while watching his team chuck away their title chance, I kind of fell into the trap of believing that Wenger might blow his top again over this.

It’s a difficult one and I can’t totally make my mind up over it, I don’t think there is a right or wrong call here, it’s just one of those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situations.

If Wilshere is a fully fledged member of the senior squad, then I agree with Wenger, there is no way he should be playing for the under 21’s.

I know he has played in the last couple of England games and if he stays fit and in form I expect him to stay in the squad for the foreseeable future, but can we really say that he is a regular member of the senior squad just yet?

At the same time if England were naming a senior squad for a major finals this summer, would Wilshere be in it? He probably would.

The same can’t be said of Andy Carroll, as he definately isn’t a full member of the senior squad, I’d regard him more as a prospect that Capello is having a look at. Again, if England were naming a squad for a major finals this summer, would Carroll get in it? I don’t think he would.

I can fully understand where Wenger is coming from over this issue and I do have sympathy with him. I suppose if pushed for my view, I would take Wilshere to the tournament and play him against Switzerland in the qualifier, he is only young and he looks strong enough to handle it all.

But if he is named in the first full England squad of next season, then that’s him finished with the under 21’s unless he suffers a loss in form and gets dropped, then it’s fair game to recall him to the under 21’s in a similar way to that of Micah Richards. But both squads would be a total no go.

Guillem Balague claims Arsenal are Favourites

I was very surprised to hear Guillem Balague say on Talksport earlier that he thinks Arsenal are now favourites against Barcelona to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.

He also said that he had done a lot of Spanish Radio today and that Barcelona had been coming in for plenty of criticism over their performance.

A 2-1 defeat away to a top premier league side is no disgrace, but I can see why the Catalan public might be a bit annoyed that Barcelona didn’t come away from Emirates with a lead, it was a bit Deja Vu.

Having had a day to reflect on the game, I think it’s fair to say that Barcelona’s level of performance did drop off in the 2nd half. But why was that?

I think most Spanish observers might think the defeat was down to complacency or negative tactics by Guardiola in taking off David Villa for a holding midfielder.

But another theory I have, is that it just could be that they can’t keep up their pressing game and their high level of intensity against a premier league side for 90 minutes.

In Spain they aren’t pushed that hard, they rarely come up against a team that is still in the match after 75 minutes. The game is usually won and Barca just play testimonial football for the last 30 minutes or so of most La Liga games.

So on the rare occasion when they do have to keep going for the full 90 minutes, they perhaps can be found wanting?

Going back to Balague on Spanish radio, he also mentioned the fact that the Spanish liked the look of Wilshere, that they were surprised at how good he was.

Yes it’s not very often that in England, or the UK, that we can produce a player who wouldn’t look out of place in the Barcelona side. I thought Wilshere was brilliant, he showed great temperament and didn’t look out of his depth at all. In fact he looked just as comfortable as anybody out there in an Arsenal shirt.

What price a summer move for Wilshere rather than Cesc by Barca?

How did Jack Wilshere do for England?

I have heard a lot of negative feed back on the radio (Talksport again) about the full debut of Jack Wilshere against Denmark on Wednesday this week.

Personally I thought he did ok, he didn’t set the world alight, but then I didn’t expect him too as he’s only a young man still learning his trade.

I’m also not convinced that the holding role Capello is talking about will be Wilshere’s best position. When I have seen him in the past for Arsenal he has always struck me as more of a constructive player than a spoiler.

Also, at the moment, his tackling reminds me more of Paul Scholes.

I’m also not sure what some football fans and journalists expected of him on Wednesday, some of the criticism aimed at him has been unbelievable. He isn’t the new Pele or Maradona for god sake.

At the moment I see Wilshere as someone who is comfortable on the ball and looks after it (trait’s generally not too familiar with English players), he dosen’t try to hit the 50 yard killer balls, or just lump it forward, he looks after it and retains it. That is probably why he is getting criticised, the mentality of some fans I’ve seen at England games in the past is to just ‘get it forward.’

While we have this mentality we will never be any good. We need good players like Wilshere who will keep the ball, not people who just hoof it up the field and run around like headless chickens.

For me it was a good debut, not convinced he is in the right roll yet, but a good steady prospect for the future who will only get better.