The media heralded the inclusion of uncapped players in Fabio Capello’s last England squad as the start of a new era. Jack Wilshere‘s bit part in the win over Hungary and his subsequent performances for Arsenal have not been enough to convince the Italian that the midfielder is the solution – or at least part of it – to the enduring problem of the dearth of English talent.
Whislt Keiran Gibbs is presumed to have retained his place in the full squad, in allowing Stuart Pearce to call Wilshere into the Under-21s, where he will be accompanied by Henri Lansbury, Capello has done Arsene a huge favour. Two Premier League games have seen the performances of the youngster scrutinised and generally, well received in the back pages. To have included him in the full squad for next month’s double header of Euro2012 qualifiers would have allowed that momentum to have continued. As it is Wilshere will be stepping out of the limelight at the national level, easing the attention away from him as he descends to the Arsenal bench with the return of the captain and other first team players to full fitness.
It is not inconceivable that Wilshere could remain in the starting line-up for Arsenal but highly unlikely. Fabregas will return at Blackburn in all likelihood and with Song reverting to his defensive midfield role following the completion of Koscielny’s suspension, Wilshere is the obvious candidate to make way, probably with Rosicky in view of the expected physical nature of the fixture.
Wilshere needs to be allowed to develop at his own pace, deflecting the weight of expectation will be Wenger’s key task. English football is desperate for a new hero to emerge from the ashes of the burnt hopes of South Africa. There are precious few in the professional game playing in the Premier League who have not already been given, and blown, their chance. Arsenal’s midfield is probably the best technically for any player to learn the accuracy of passing and swiftness of movement needed for the national team to be successful.
Wilshere has a big season ahead of him and has already seen two of his peers succumb to injury for varying lengths of time. He will know that his time will come again for the first team with the Champions League group phase to commence, it will be soon as Arsene rotates the squad to keep players fit and adapt to the demands of the fixture list.
Sebastien Squillaci has still not been announced as an Arsenal player, despite Sevilla confirming the fee was agreed and the player telling the world that this is his destiny calling. Presumably the delay is due to the required paperwork not being received from the Spanish FA at the Premier League but no doubt it will arrive soon. Perhaps today is Wenger’s deadline for including the French international in the squad for the rough and tumble at Ewood Park?
Meanwhile the sale of Javier Mascherano seems to be filling the hole in the Liverpool bank balance for a week or two, making it unlikely that Pepe Reina will be moving to Arsenal this summer. Not that I expected him to anyway with Mark Schwarzer still the media darling on that score. Interestingly, the Australian is splitting the support: those who want a world-class goalkeeper – which Schwarzer is not – or no-one, and those who want anyone but Fabianski and Almunia.
It is a curious state of affairs since the usual clamour is for Wenger to sign world-class players so why would people accept second best in a player who is well outside of the manager’s usual age range. The rationale behind signing the Fulham ‘keeper is sound in that he would allow Szczesny to progress to the first team and not in dispute but all summer the clamour has been for players who have shone at the World Cup so why now is there an acceptance for a player who is no better than that which we already have at the club? Change for change’s sake is not generally an answer to any problems.