Arsene Wenger has laid down the gauntlet to Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, claiming all three have a ‘point to prove’ after struggling last season for a variety of reasons.
While Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain struggled with injuries, Walcott simply struggled. Shorn of confidence, he seemed to regress last season and finally found the end of some fans’ tethers.
With the new season upon us, and Jack injured again, Wenger is hoping that the trio will step up and show why they are over their collective injuries and ready to perform consistently at the top level.
“Yes, for them it’s a massive season because they have not been regularly involved in the English national team and they all belong to the English national team,” Wenger told assembled reporters at his pre-Liverpool press conference.
“There’s a new possibility for them because there’s a new coach in the English national team. But especially, I think what is most important is for them to do well for their club. They have been frustrated last season on that front.
“All three have a point to prove, of course. For different reasons. Most of the time it is down to the fact that they were injured and today at the top level you cannot be in and out, you have to be consistently physically at the top.
“If you are injured and come back the difference between the players and the teams is so small that you have to be at the top physically.”
Both Walcott and the Ox are expected to face Liverpool on Sunday. Two weeks on, Jack’s ‘one-week’ injury has ruled him out for the game.
Still, there’s always next season week, eh, Jack?