Can Jack Wilshere take England to the next level?
He’s back in the international fold
England boss Gareth Southgate realises that all the best teams have a clear identity.
Manchester City are flying high at the top of the Premier League with their distinctive possession-based game. Every player in Pep Guardiola’s side knows exactly what they’re expected to do. And when things aren’t going well, they have a plan to fall back on.
Southgate wants to instil a similar philosophy with England. He can’t call on Kevin De Bruyne or David Silva, but his plan is for the Three Lions to dominate the ball at the World Cup in Russia.
And that means Jack Wilshere could have a key role to play. He’s now 4/9 to be included in Southgate’s World Cup squad.
Wilshere hasn’t played for England since their humiliating loss to Iceland at Euro 2016. But he was recalled to the squad for the upcoming friendlies after getting a consistent run of games for Arsenal.
Quality on the ball
If he goes to Russia, expect him to start. Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson both have their qualities, but neither can match Wilshere’s ability to link play and create space for himself and his teammates.
The Arsenal man can get on the ball and bring the likes of Dele All and Raheem Sterling into play. He’s also got the skill to beat an opponent in tight areas, unlike Southgate’s alternative options in central midfield.
Proving his fitness
The 26-year-old’s talent has never been in doubt. But now he looks in great shape too. He should be able to cope with the quick turnaround of World Cup games.
He’s made 31 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions this term – more than key players like Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey.
A fit Wilshere gives England real quality in central areas, something they’ve lacked in recent years.
Southgate’s side are a 14/1 shot to go all the way in Russia. They’ll have a better chance of imposing themselves on the very best sides with Wilshere than without.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication