By Matthew Wade

Why Jack Wilshere making himself central to Roy Hodgson’s plans can only be a positive thing for Arsenal.

So after my column last week, castigating the turgid nature of England’s performance against Ireland, and reminding Gooners of their good fortune, Sunday saw the oh so rare occurrence of an England international that was neither depressing in quality, lack of action or outcome.

Of course much of the eventual satisfaction was down to the intervention of the oft-criticised Jack Wilshere, whose effectively match-winning contribution was apparently his sixth Man of the Match performance in his last seven England games. Both his goals and run of performances were celebrated by Hector Bellerin,  who stuck two twitter fingers up at Jack the Lad’s critics, as reported on here.

In addition the usual tidy possession and driving runs forward that he has exhibited from his deep lying play-maker role for Roy Hodgson, Wilshere did an excellent job of reminding everyone what he can offer further forward. Following on from his Goal of the Season snatching effort against West Brom (HA!), he turned the game around for England with two fantastic strikes from range, the second of which was a top corner, arrow-like thunder-bastard of the highest order.

Of course, this is great for England, leaving their qualification from an easy group even more of a procession than anticipated, which will allow the manager to experiment with new faces outside of the slow death sentences that are most international friendlies. And of course, the return to fitness, form and confidence of the squad’s most technically adept central midfielder is vital for the team’s hopes going forward.

That said, the vast majority of Arsenal fans aren’t that bothered about England. This is in part due to tribal parochialism of club loyalties, but also equally the rejection of national parochialism that is fitting for the fans of a major football club with a global fanbase, situated near the heart of a global city. Or to put it another way, no one wants to cheer Chelsea players on if they can help it, and many probably like the players from elsewhere in Europe and other continents more on the whole!

BUT (and it’s in capitals, because it’s a big but), Jack Wilshere taking centre stage for England IS good for Arsenal. As are important contributions from Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, The Ox, occasionally Kieran Gibbs, and any others that stake a claim. This is because of what I like to call ‘The Shearer Effect. Many of you won’t need this explaining, but bear with us!

When Alan Shearer was England captain and our key striker, he was basically given diplomatic immunity in English domestic football. His rap sheet of elbows, stamps, kicks and even the occasional throttle was fairly extensive, but only once while a key England regular did he receive a ban of more than one game from the Football Association, and most often none at all. The most obvious example was when he blatantly kicked Neil Lennon in the head from close range, but despite a misconduct charge being pushed through by then F.A. CEO Graham Kelly, the hearing came and went in the blink of an eye, and he was found not guilty. The video evidence didn’t exactly support the F.A. disciplinary panel’s conclusion.

We have seen similar loose interpretations of disciplinary codes for key England players such as Scholes, Beckham, Terry and Gerrard over the last decade or so, a trend that has continued with current stalwarts Gary Cahill and Wayne Rooney. All players whose disciplinary records in the domestic game are very different to those in European or International competition. I can’t think why…

Basically, if you become undroppable for England, you get the benefit of any doubt from referees and the F.A. You also get afforded rather more protection from the more cynical and violent tendencies of opponents.

Similar rules apply in a lot of countries, but seeing as we play in the English Premier League, it is the fate of those representing the Three Lions that affect the club. And given that young Jack is certainly no saint on the pitch, and is oft targeted for rough stuff by opponents, the leniency and care that will come with his star ascending on the international stage will be very welcome indeed at club level.

We’ve already seen it start to happen. Despite its comical nature, Jack’s scuffle with Fellaini in the home defeat to Manchester United easily could have led to a red card, and the variable quality of his tackling technique hasn’t been punished as regularly since it became clear Roy Hodgson wanted to build his midfield around our Tottenham baiting man.

Naturally , there are other benefits too. Confidence is of course a massive thing in top level sport, and being a key man for your country can only boost this. As he said himself after the game against Slovenia:

“It’s obviously nice to get my first goals for England, they have been a long time coming.

“I probably wouldn’t have had a shot for the second one if I hadn’t already scored, but after I’d scored one I had more confidence.”

A lack of goals have been a big criticism of his game at club level, particularly given his goal scoring record at under-18 and under-21 level, so scoring for England can only increase the likelihood of him scoring for Arsenal. Like many good things, it becomes habit forming, and Jack is now at the age where both Cesc and Ramsey went from being sporadic goal threats to more regular ones.

There is also the plus of taking responsibility. In many ways this has been a trait Wilshere has always had, given the way he demands the ball and tries to make things happen. But England are increasingly placing a more mature responsibility on him. In his current role he needs to retain possession, to slow the game down as well as quicken it up, and to track runners and generally show more tactical awareness. In a similar vein to Arsene giving young player’s confusing stints out wide to develop their appreciation of space, Hodgson’s attempts to find the Andrea Pirlo in Wilshere’s game will probably help the player become more multi-functional at Arsenal. This will perhaps assist that transition towards what is now Cazorla’s role in central midfield. Either way, the more roles a player is familiar with, the more flexibility it gives the manager with regards to his most heavily staffed area of the squad.

The paucity of technical ability in central areas for England also gives Wilshere the chance to become THE MAN. To boss the side and learn how to run a game and know how and when to take things by the scruff of the neck and make them happen. At Arsenal in recent years we have seen Fabregas, Henry, Vieira and Van Persie all develop that level of on-pitch personality. To drag the team out of holes and to dominate opponents. Wilshere has the drive and ability levels to do so as well, but with the depth of the Arsenal squad it will be difficult for him to evolve into that role at club level alone. Doing so for England can help create the confidence, expectation and familiarity to do it for The Arsenal.

With Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain,  Walcott, Welbeck all firmly in Roy Hodgson’s plans, and with Gibbs, Chambers and maybe even Jenkinson all pushing for further consideration, the England managers  paternal and conscientious approach could help the majority of Arsenal’s fabled ‘British Core’ kick on once more after what has been a testing season (in a variety of ways) for most of them.

Despite the limitations of some of the players from other clubs, and the paucity of the entertainment on offer most of the time, for once England’s interests and those of Arsenal Football Club could be partially aligned for the foreseeable future.