Could a comment Arsene Wenger made back in October explain why Jack Wilshere is getting such limited game time in the Premier League this season?
In October, Wenger explained that the Premiership is ‘too ferocious’ for Jack to be properly introduced at the moment.
“If the competition was less ferocious, he is ready to play,” Wenger said. “I wouldn’t be scared to play him. In the Premier League he can play [soon]. He is nearly back to his best.”
Since returning from a second hairline fracture to his fibula, which saw him sidelined from April until August, Jack has struggled for game time in competitive matches.
The 25-year-old has made just four starts this term and they’ve all been in the Europa League. He’s only featured three times in the Premiership for a combined 48 minutes and it does seem as if Wenger’s protecting him from the crunching challenges and physical demands of English football.
Of course, while Jack did look sharp during his first couple of full matches against BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade, during others he’s still looked a little off the pace. This suggests that while his fitness is improving, perhaps he’s just not good enough at this point in time to make the first team.
A prime example of this was against FC Cologne away on Thursday. None of the players, except for perhaps Ainsley Maitland-Niles, put in a spectacular performance – including Jack – which isn’t exactly the best way to get Wenger to pick you for his strongest starting XI during the weekends.