Arsene Wenger says that Stuart Pearce’s statement about Jack Wilshere was ‘not completely helpful’ and revealed he’s unsure if Jack Wilshere will even be fit to start next season.
Earlier this week Pearce named Wilshere in his provisional 80 man long-list for the Olympics, but the Arsenal manager is concerned that setting targets for the midfielder is counter-productive at this stage.
Wenger seemed resigned to Pearce being a bit of a dick, having had poor experiences before which left Theo Walcott injured and unavailable for Arsenal, and says that Wilshere’s progress is slow and uncertain.
“You cannot say his statement was completely helpful. But it was not really a surprise,” he said, referring to his previous with Pearce.
He then re-iterated his caution over a player who has missed a whole year of his career hoping to make a comeback in a tournament, and the damage it might do to him if he didn’t make that deadline.
“I am cautious with him,” he said. “Imagine you are 20 years old and you play in the national team. You prepare and suddenly, nothing at all.
“You get the first knock, the second knock, you think ‘OK, at least I will be ready for the Euro.’ Then you have to convince him, ‘look my friend, it will not work for the Euros.’ You knock him down again. Then, you set him another target. If he doesn’t make it, he will lose a complete appetite for rehab because it’s difficult.
“You must work every day out there, not knowing when you come back. If you say, ‘You can go to the Olympics’ and he doesn’t make it, what do you give him after? Let’s take our time and not set any specific targets. The most important thing for him is to focus on day-to-day work and see if he can get better.”
“I do not want to set the Olympics as a target because I do not know whether he will be fit to start at the beginning of the season,” he added. “It is just our target to get him to improve.
“When we start on July 9, if he can join in then we have won the battle, but that is not guaranteed.”
Fears over Jack not starting next season may well be a case of lowering his expectations but such is his injury and the way it’s recurred there are genuine fears that his comeback could be delayed even further.
One can only hope that Pearce puts aside his desire to be seen as some kind of authority figure, rather than a bumbling caretaker, and takes into account what’s best for Jack Wilshere. Whatever point he feels he needs to prove to Arsene Wenger may come at the expense of one of England’s most prodigious talents, so fingers crossed he sees sense.
Otherwise he might send Jack’s career the same way as his penalty in 1990.