On Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere’s England Omission

Nerves of steel; that’s what the new Arsenal head coach needs. There’s a louche attitude toward defending to deal with – “I do not think I will tackle today, I will wait for another opportunity for they always come” – which saw us concede more goals than in any season since 1983/4.

It’s a tough job and there are a number of ‘contenders’ staying put. They are committed to their clubs and honouring contracts; Arsène started a new fad there. Either that or dismissing contact from the club as a “token gesture”. The reality is they are scared of Mikel Arteta’s perfect hair. The Vieiras, Nagelmanns, and Allegris of this world can hide behind whatever excuses they want, but it’s all about Mikel’s perfect hair. How can they compete?

Either that or they think the Arsenal job is a poisoned chalice. It’s the only reason they can be turning the job down so publicly unless they weren’t contacted. Or were unhappy with finding there really is only a £50m transfer war chest.

I don’t know the truth and neither does the media, which is the point. Don’t declare for or against the appointment when nobody knows for certain who is coming in. You are backing yourself into a corner with that stance and being wholly unfair to the new boss.

The question of ambition on the club’s part is not as clear-cut as it seems. Hiring a young, untested coach could be construed as not going for the best, as a sign of a lack of ambition. Or, it could be ambitious; giving a hungry, untested coach the opportunity to make his mark is an ambitious project. A wider ambition than the narrow focus of past trophies equalling future success.

It’s a matter of perspective. Make sure you keep yours.

Are England in Dire Straits?

Which is something hard to do if you are English this morning. There might be perfectly good reasons for Jack Wilshere’s omission from the squad travelling to Russia this summer. Perhaps he wants to spend time with his family? Maybe he wants to be fit recover some pace for next season?

I would hate to think it’s because Gareth Southgate believes Jake Livermore is a better player. He is if your football is guileless and relies on typical English qualities. Hard work, running, kicking the ball hard; you know, all the things which served us so well in the past.

If you need a player who can unlock defences, Livermore isn’t the name which is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Maybe Southgate is taking a tyro like Loftus-Cheek which is an interesting choice but smacks of the youngster being this summer’s Theo Walcott.

While that is a brave decision, it isn’t going to make the nation fall back in love with the national team. That’s the battle Southgate is fighting. Rio Ferdinand thinks his self-proclaimed ‘golden generation’ wrecked the England team with their factionalism. The utter dross served up in 2010, 2014 and 2016 did more harm, I think. Call it a feeling, a hunch.

Because the one thing we can be sure of is that the jingoism of the wretched rat Morgan’s Euro ’96 Mirror is gone. The times of thinking England could do well are over; this summer, getting out of the group is a significant achievement. It’s nowhere near as tough as 2014 on paper. We ought to beat Panama and Tunisia, but this is England and doing things the easy way isn’t to be expected.

Wilshere’s was inconsistent this season and his England claims weren’t helped by not forcing his way into the Arsenal XI.

Money for Nothing

The uncertainty over his future undermined him to some extent. Arsenal’s handling of contract negotiations doesn’t reflect well on the club. We could easily achieve a £20m fee for Wilshere so letting him walk away on a free transfer ought never to have been on the table.

Surprisingly, it was and we decided to become tough negotiators, no doubt in response to the criticism from certain quarters of Özil’s salary.

Someone on the inside briefed that Wilshere’s deal was ‘take it or leave it’. Arsène admitted he told Jack to do one last summer. Arsenal were playing tough. It didn’t quite work, mainly because the manager publicly altered his stance and in doing so, whipped the rug from under someone’s feet. We re-negotiated.

My point throughout that time is that while I felt – and still do – that Wilshere is a good squad player to have, letting £20m walk out the door for nothing was madness. It undermines the ‘self-sufficiency, Good Life’ attitude we have and if the £50m is anywhere near correct, is sheer madness.

Should the club sell, do so once he’s signed a new deal.  Tak the decision for the betterment of the squad. However, if it happens because of Enos’ bottom line, then it specious reasoning.

Of course, now I’ve written all that, Wilshere will be in the squad and walk away on free this summer. Sigh.

’til Tomorrow.

52 thoughts on “On Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere’s England Omission

  1. There’s a lot up in the air this morning. Good morning YW. A lot of folks screaming Arteta out,even before an appointment is made. The need to focus and find perspective is important. Luck, tactics and consistency might just see a better season for us.

  2. While any appointment of a new Arsenal manager will almost certainly split the fan base I think that there is one thing we can all agree on. This will be almost certainly the worst England World Cup squad in living memory.

  3. lari03,

    I don’t think that anyone is screaming Arteta Out. It’s not an unreasonable position to think that he’d be a extremely risky selection for many reasons but still hope that you would be proven wrong if the appointment does actually happen.

    As I said before, if you’re going to take a risk you could make a far better argument for the likes of Dyche than you could for Mikel Arteta.

  4. skywalker,

    Pete the Thirst,

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Once England are out it’ll be simply a matter of sitting back and enjoying the tournament. I’d struggle to support a side containing the likes of Alli and Kane anyway (Kane ‘World Class’ my arse!).

  5. Ive just put £10 pounds on Steve Bould, 50 to 1 on Sky bet.
    If were talking Mikel Arteta surely Steve Bould gotta have a chance.
    No messing defending with our Steve!!! ask Gary Lineker

  6. I feel that going for Arteta is somehow a wengerish movement. We know what the team is missing but for one reason or another just don’t go for it.
    Fans: “We need personalities and reliable defenders!” Wenger: “ooook, how about a goal-shy ball magician”? 🙂
    Fans: “We need someone with burning desire to succeed and win the League!” Wengerish Arsenal: “ooook, how about a nice and good-looking though clever Spanish”?

  7. There are known ‘knowns’ of candidates considered experienced in Arsenal’s search. To an extent that includes Mikel Arteta. IIRC, he interviewed with Arsenal two years back prior to choosing City to apprentice. So, the exec team do have some scope on his perspectives between then and now.

    An interesting piece appeared elsewhere yesterday that offers more detail on Arteta’s influence at City. More, the better:



  8. Good stuff.

    Have to say, I actually understand Southgate not taking Jack given his form ovet the last couple of months coupled with his injury history and it makes sense. Also, if I was Jack I wouldn’t want to go considering my injury history and thr fact that I’m out of contract and is somebody really going to offer me a contract if I get injured? Maybe back to Bournemouth then.

    As far as thr next manager, well I don’t mind Arteta with a strong or excellent staff behind him. Some of the current names lile Nagelsman were under Tuchel prior to taking over and flourishing. The thing with it is, the structure is clear: Mislintat scouts and decides on players with Sanllehi who then gets with Huss and does the contract and the manager gets to focus on coaching and creating a list of players or positions that he wants for his style.

  9. One of the things that I think people won’t like about Arteta is his touchline demeanor, its very subdued and when he does get up, its generally to give instructions and then sits back down which is much like his demeanor when he played, subdued yet direct.

  10. This Jack thing is quite hilarious honestly, last season and at Bournemouth people were talking about a squad player at best and now the outrage I am reading in articles and stuff would suggest Jack has been sublime and thr most reliable player.

    Remember when you England lot were talking how bright your midfield future was with Jack and Barkley….😂😂😂😂😂

  11. Quite frankly I’m glad southfate hasn’t the brains to pick the only English player comfortable with the ball surrounded by opposition players. He doesn’t need the abuse once we go out having struggled v the minnows.

  12. Hi Guys,

    Once again here we are and no I am not losing perspective. What is happening is whitewash of the managerial appointments.

    The board is doing a contract job. They are not being thorough just pretending to be.

    Not one single fan wants Arteta so why are we getting him. It shows a total lack of ambition and they have settled for midtable mediocrity. If Arteta is hired there is no way we can compete for anything. It will set us back ten years. Just look what happened to United.

    It is the most atrocious scandalous appointment that could ever happen to us.

    No ambition, he has zero star power, will not be able to attract any big name players, will not be able to organise the defense, will not be able to control or discipline our big name players.

    He never won anything as player, was never an inspirational captain and he was absolutely mediocre for us as a player overseeing our most batten of spells.

    I cannot understand why the entire fanhase is not in a complete uproar about this potential appointment. We need to untie to send the Board and that prick Kroenke a clear message this is not an acceptable appointment and f this is the road they go down it is time for serious protests to remove them all. For too long Wenger has shielded them but now they can face the music.

    We don’t have a year or two to experiment to get it right.we already had the last two years for that. We need a seasoned manager like Ancelloti or Allegri or even Jardim and also f they go down the old player route then it should be Veira. This strikes as fascism against VeirA, corporate racism. There is nothing about Arteta that qualifies him more than Veira. This is absolutely disgraceful.

    Not a single person in the Caribbean wants Arteta. I would venture it’s the same in Africa.
    At the last game again best Huddersfield not a single fan wanted him. Why are we allowing ourselves to be what on like this. It is time to unify against this owner and the board.

    As for Jack, renew and sell. His legs are gone.
    Even though I love him to bits, he is not ever going to be what he was supposed to be.

  13. jw1,

    Although there are plenty of articles detailing Arteta’s merits I’ve yet to see a single one that even touches on the sort of issues that he’ll have to deal with at Arsenal. Namely sorting out our terrible defensive set up. Sure, he may fine tune the attack, but unless he can address our problems at the other end of the pitch he’ll be wasting his time.

  14. Now there’s a proper contest for the job. All the right boxes ticked by Moyesy, especially after taking over from Fergie.

  15. Dukey,

    Barkley for me seemed to be at his level with Everton. Jack, well he might be comfortable with thr ball at his feet problem in futbol you always get tackled and thats where he struggles.

  16. andy1886,

    What if Arteta brought in a defensive coach or what if Bouldie stayed and we found out he actually wasn’t being listened to by Arsene on how to defend? Even better, what if we actually bought in a replacement for Kos who compliments Mustafi and marshalls the defense.

    I’m not advocating for or against Arteta but I think simply saying he can’t do the job or can’t fix this or that needs to be held for judgement until (should he be actually appointed) we know who his staff is.

  17. That England midfield is woeful.

    I understand taking Lingaard, as he can play wide and has been scoring goals. But Welbeck? I’d have taken Jack over Danny every time in that squad.

    Defense first picks need to stay fit, as theres no depth there whatsoever.

    GK and strikers, reasonably tidy sets of players for a tournament

  18. Jack has been shit in the odd game this season but is still something England don’t have and need. Since when have England ever picked the Gunner if they had half an excuse not to, anyway? Never supported ’em, never will. So many Spuds lately, too.

  19. Welbeck plays very well for England. In fact he is this generations Darius vassell. Welbeck and Andros Townsend who also plays excellent for England should be going.

  20. Fabian K

    I have read quite a few fans posts who would be happy with him.
    However I can accept the view as an unambitious appointment, and have stated that he wouldn’t be my 1st choice. It is a gamble that could go pear shaped very quickly, as could anyone else coming in. So in the spirit of positive thinking, I have come to the conclusion it’s not as completely stupid as it may appear to be. For starters we have finished 5th and 6th with AW the last 2 seasons. We are not top 4, so we don’t have a position to maintain. The immediate concern is to get back there, leaving a brief window of opportunity to try something different different.
    Whatever Arteta was as a footballer has no bearing on what he would be like as a coach, and doing the reading, he is highly thought of, by those whose views mean more than mine. If he does indeed become manager/ coach his targets for his 1st season are unlikely to be unobtainable, as I am sure there will be hiccups along the way with such a big change in support staff. Also it will, I’m sure be fairly evident quite quickly if he isn’t up to the job, so a cheapish payoff. In the event of him doing well, happy days.
    It should also be considered that if it does go tits up, the club (brand) and Arteta have more to lose than supporters.

  21. Great post Yogi

    I became an England supporter after my USA USA USA team crapped out and I think England will overperform and make it thru the group stages and hopefully make a deep run in this years World Cup. Hope springs eternal.

    I have to agree with C about Jack. I agree he is probably better then Jake Livermore but I don’t think Jack is capable of being a difference maker so leaving him off the squad is not really going to hurt our chances. I think Jack has a chance to get a decent contract if another team can get him on a free transfer but I can’t imagine another club spending a decent sized transfer fee given his form and his injury record. If we had resigned him I suspect we would not have had any options other then to keep him. The new manager needs to have some open squad spots and we are already heavily overloaded with high profile attacking midfielders who don’t score and don’t add anything on the defensive end. Good luck to Jack and I wish him the best but its time for him and for Arsenal to move on.

  22. I am not sure why anyone would expect Arteta to be Wenger-lite. We were not exactly a successful team during Arteta’s time at Arsenal and he has to be smart enough to understand the importance of team defense. My concern is he might try to be Pep-lite and try to build a team to play Pep-ball. That strategy is very unlikely to work without Pep’s transfer budget and without Pep’s ability to motivate players to play with the sort of energy he demands on both ends of the pitch.

    The other problem is Arteta would need to rebuild the culture in our club and I think its going to be difficult to be a manager who can crack the whip for players like Ozil when you were their team mate and and friend and shared the dysfunctional culture for 5 years.

  23. Damon,

    The defence looks awful to me TBH. Stones and Jones aren’t even competent defenders, Cahill is well past his best, and if our best defender is Kyle Walker then Bobby Moore must be turning in his grave.

    Very much a second or third tier bunch by international standards.

  24. I don’t think England will win the World Cup but I think they will do a lot better then many of us expect. Harry Kane is going to have to carry the attack and we will have to find ways to win low scoring games.

  25. Bill,

    I honestly think that Kane will struggle against better defenders. Another concern must be Alli, a walking petulant time-bomb that could reduce the side to ten men at the drop of a hat. The only plus is that with such low expectations even qualifying from the group stages could be viewed as meeting expectations.

  26. andy1886:

    I honestly think that Kane will struggle against better defenders. Another concern must be Alli, a walking petulant time-bomb that could reduce the side to ten men at the drop of a hat. The only plus is that with such low expectations even qualifying from the group stages could be viewed as meeting expectations.

    Everything you say may be correct but I hope you are wrong about Kane. Performing as well as he has in the PL for 3 years is not easy. Realistically I don’t think England is a threat to win the cup but I really hope they can make an unexpected deep run based on winning low scoring games similar to Arsenal in the 2006 CL.

  27. Bill,

    Mate, have you seen the England defense, low scoring might happen because they kick the shit out of people but err umm, they could alsp find a way to cock it up. Also, Kane has done it in the PL but as you have told us ALL for years, international futbol is a different world. I mean Welbeck does quite well: 15 goals in 37 appearances would make you fancy him to score at or about that rate for club then you realize he has scored 64 goals in about 290 appearances in all competitions at club level.

  28. If my memory is correct, Spain only scored 8 goals when they won the 2010 World Cup so it is possible to win a knockout tournament like this with minimal firepower. Chelsea won the CL in 2012 so anything is possible. I don’t expect England to be a wonderful attacking juggernaut and win with flowing attractive football but hopefully Harry Kane can get around 5-6 goals and Alli can score 2-3 and the rest of the team can find ways to score some scruffy goals and a few set piece goals.

  29. C

    You are correct. International football is different then club football but that does not mean that Harry Kane is destined to flop. He might do well and England has a chance to go deep if he competes for the golden boot and they can keep the scores of their games low.

  30. C

    Like it or not Harry Kane has been one of the worlds best strikers not named Messsi or Ronaldo for the last few years. If Kane does flop in the World Cup it will add more evidence to my theory that results in international football are not an accurate way to judge a players ability to be effective in club football.

  31. Bill,

    You assuming quite a lot there my friend. Going deep, is that out of their group becausd I don’t see them going beyond that.

    Messi is the greatest player of his generation and internationally he has fuck all to show for it.

  32. Bill,

    Lewandowski is a better CF IMHO and has scored more goals and bigger goals for both club and country but hasn’t gotten far.

  33. Interesting that RALPH HASENHUTTL of RB Leizpig is free after failing to meet terms. He is certainly an option.

  34. andy1886,

    Well, maybe this then?
    Arteta played in front of a back-4 his last four seasons at Arsenal which were pretty good for PL Goals Allowed (ranked):

    2012-13 37 (3rd)
    2013-14 41 (4th)
    2014-15 36 (2nd)
    2015-16 36 (2nd)

    Had to have had some experience with how those defenses were organized. Maybe not great defenses? But had we been in shouting distance of any of those totals– we’d have likely been in the hunt for top-4 this season. The only difference in those back lines — and this year’s model? Was the BFG.

    So IMO, it’s the personnel at present (*coughmustaficough*) that requires upgrading. Because brain transplants aren’t usually successful.

    So Sven needs to pull a top-shelf CB out of his top-hat. Someone worthy to mentor and marshall Chambers/Holding/Mavropanos next season.


  35. .C,
    Do like Timo Werner at RB Leipzig’s. 21 goals two years running.
    Though Hasenhuttl’s defense was joint 13th (of 18) in GA this season (53 allowed in 34 games).


  36. Atletico Madrid won the Europa league final 3-0 and they only had 43% of the ball possession. They beat us over 2 legs with less then 40% of the ball possession. They have been competing with some success against arguably the 2 biggest wealthiest and most successful clubs in Europe for the last 5 years.

    That’s the sort of manager and tactical set up that I would like.

  37. Bill,

    But they play dreadful futbol..
    Just looking at it from the other side.

    Simeone is moaninho on steroids…


  38. Aaron,

    TBH most of our football has been boring for the last three or four years. Endlessly passing the ball around with zero penetration is a complete waste of everyone’s time. In the early Wenger years (when we were winning titles) we were never a big possession side.

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