Jack Wilshere is without a club and lumped with the ‘injury plagued’ tag but there is one thing he could change that could well benefit the rest of his career.
Jack Wilshere is searching for a new club after it was agreed his contract at West Ham should be terminated.
That’s a far cry from the summer of 2005 when the baton of an aging legend at Arsenal was picked up by a young pretender. Wilshere was expected, at the tender age of 21, to take on the mantle of one of Arsenal’s greatest ever midfielders (ugh) who left near the peak of his powers.
Admittedly he’d had a season to get used to the role. With Fabregas struggling to stay fit for many games the previous year, Wilshere had made 49 appearances in all competitions. Fabio Capello was a known admirer, giving Wilshere his England debut and hailing him as the future of their midfield.
Expectations were high, but it was still a tough ask.
It became even tougher when, in a pre-season friendly, our young lion suffered a stress fracture to his ankle which would keep him out of competitive action for the entire season.
Since that frustrating year, Jack’s development has been punctuated by injuries which, although they have allowed him to get a number of games, have limited the rhythm he has been able to build up. His stock has plummeted as the corresponding rise of players like Aaron Ramsey threw Wilshere’s plight into contrast despite injury problems of his own to contend with.
With one at Juventus and one without a club, there is no Ramsey vs Wilshere debate to be had any more.
At his best, Jack is able to go past opposition players with consummate ease thanks to his deft touches which feign poor control and tempt defenders to dive in, only to find the ball is not where they were expecting it to be.
However, the part of his game which he has yet to fully master is his decision making to extract the maximum from those runs; knowing when to pass, when to shoot, and when to take the next man on. This is, in no small part, because he has lacked the very thing which would refine it – game time.
Liam Brady once spoke about how Wilshere is “too brave for his own good”, and it all comes back to that same decision making process which Jack needs to work on.
He needed to learn when NOT to go in for tackles, when to hurdle, and when to release the ball rather than drawing the foul. Not only would that help stop defences getting the opportunity to get men behind the ball, but it would surely reduce the number of impact injuries he picks up. So far in his career, he has been so determined to win the ball that he rarely does a proper risk-reward assessment.
Certainly Wilshere has the determination to improve, work and become the best player he can be. That determination to take on the world and make the difference in big games is an endearing quality; a quality which makes us want to give him, forever, one more chance.
It is a quality, without which, it is impossible to make it to the very top of world football.
But there’s a difference between determination and downright stubbornness. Knowing when to share the burden can be the difference between a good player and a great player.
It’s time to decide which you want to be, Jack. There isn’t much of it left.
What next for Wilshere?
Speaking to talkSPORT, Jack Wilshere discussed his next move after his contract with West Ham was terminated by mutual consent.
The S*n revealed that Rangers were in advanced talks to sign the ex-Arsenal man, but it doesn’t seem like he will be moving anywhere near Scotland.
Wilshere told talkSPORT: ‘“I think I want to try something different – I am leaning towards that. Maybe La Liga, Italy, something a little bit different that not many English players have done. I am probably going to take a week or two to decide.’”