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The Wonders and Worries of Jack Wilshere

I am concerned about Jack Wilshere. Not in the reactionary "he was probably a 6/10 against Ukraine" kind of way, in more of a loving, concerned way. Because we all love Jack Wilshere, right? Well, I don't really. In all honesty, I've never been too fussed about him. I didn't watch the 10/11 season in great enough detail to appreciate him, and while his performance against Swansea (which I was lucky enough to see live) was excellent, he still suffered (and continues to suffer from) a lack of a final ball, which his all-round play deserves.

The arrival of Mezut Özil has made this less of an issue, as there is little chance of Wilshere dislodging the German as Arsenal's most advanced midfielder, apart from for tactical reasons (Wilshere would play a lot deeper and offer more defensively than Özil in 'big' Champions League games, for example), and Arsène Wenger has said he sees Wilshere's future in a deeper position for Arsenal. In recent games, against Spurs and Fenerbache for example, he certainly showed greater discipline, passing more and dribbling less, as part of a pivot with Aaron Ramsey. The issue is, while Wilshere is certainly an option for the pivot, there could be limited chances there due to injuries, which require him to be deployed further up.

Jack Wilshere England - copyright

What's more, Wilshere is earmarked for a more advanced role with England, which could impact his ability to play deeper for Arsenal or vice versa. My main concern, however, is where he'll fit in at Arsenal in the long-term. 

Right now, he's playing in Santi Cazorla's left-wing-in-name-only role, to great effect. He looked excellent against Sunderland, though he's still not quite grasped when to release the ball. I can see him developing well out wide, a position he has played for the U-21s in the past. But he won't displace Cazorla, and Theo Walcott is needed on the right. So once the diminutive Spaniard returns, it's back into the deepest midfield role for Wilshere. But will that work in the long-term? I have my doubts. Ramsey-Wilshere could eventually have a similar effect as Ramsey-Arteta, but even during the run-in last season I wanted to improve on it. I can see a player like Ilkay Gundogan coming in, which again leaves Wilshere displaced. That's assuming he manages to hold off Flamini for the remainder of the season (alright, that's being overly harsh). 

Jack Wilshere - copyright

Jack Wilshere is clearly a special talent, one who deserves to flourish at Arsenal. But no matter how good he becomes, I worry his path to success is blocked at the moment, by the wealth of talent in other areas of the pitch. The only position he could really hold down as his own is the pivote, but even that could be under threat in the future.

I may be woefully wrong, but at the moment, Jack Wilshere isn't looking like a key component of the Arsenal squad, more of a very very talented extra. Which says a lot about the team at the moment, more than it does about him. 

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