Southgate warming to Wilshere recall


Gareth Southgate says he’s impressed by the quality of Jack Wilshere’s performances in recent weeks and admits it’s great for England that the midfielder is currently enjoying regular game time for Arsenal.

The 26-year-old, who is on the verge of signing a new deal at the Emirates, has made eight Premier League starts since mid-December growing in confidence and fitness along the way. It’s a far cry from his circumstances in the early part of the season when he was reduced to game time in the Carabao Cup and Europa League.

Asked about the possibility of handing Wilshere an England call-up for the first time since EURO 2016, Southgate, who has previously made clear he wouldn’t consider the player unless he got more minutes, said: “It’s a real plus to see him playing at the level he is, and looking as fit as he is.

“We know his quality, for him to be starting now in regular games, two games a week, playing at a high level is a real bonus for us.”

He added: “I’ve got to say, his level of performance is way above what it was then.

“He’s really playing well now and influencing big games, which is good. People talk about selection headaches – we want those sorts of decisions because we want those sorts of players available.”

Wilshere already has 34 England caps to his name and has, according to Southgate, always been a positive influence in the camp.

“Our experience in squads he was in was that he was a really good lad to have in the group. That’s important, but also he’s showing sharpness in his game.”

England have a double-header of friendlies against Holland and Italy in March. If Jack can stay fit he may well have a chance of making next summer’s World Cup after all. Good on him.

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