Jack Wilshere has enjoyed playing a deep-lying role for England so much that he’s open to playing in the same position for Arsenal.
The 22-year-old has won four consecutive man of the match performances playing at the base of Roy Hodgson’s midfield helping the Three Lions to a run of victories that has all but secured them a place at Euro 2016 already.
Speaking after Tuesday evening’s 3-1 friendly victory over Scotland – a match in which Wilshere delivered a pinpoint pinged pass for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to head the opener – the Arsenal man admitted that for all his enthusiasm Arsene Wenger is yet to be convinced he’s right for the role.
“The formation we play at Arsenal is a bit different. I wouldn’t mind playing it [defensive midfield] at Arsenal and I’ve already spoken to the manager about it, and he doesn’t see me playing that role just yet.
“I enjoy my role for Arsenal as well because I can get a bit further forward, but I wouldn’t mind playing the holding role for Arsenal. That’s the manager’s decision.
“At the moment, I think [Mikel] Arteta is injured and [Mathieu] Flamini is playing that role. It’s down to him. If he wants me to play there, I’ll play it.”
Earlier in the season Wilshere revealed he was taking inspiration from Italy’s Andrea Pirlo and Argentina’s Javier Mascherano as he took up the challenge of learning a new position. Reflecting on his continued improvement, he said:
“I’m really enjoying my new position. I’ve said before, after the first game in Switzerland, that I’d only get better and better. It was my first game ever playing in that role.
“The main thing is the coaches are getting their points across in terms of what they want me to do, not just over here but when we’re away from here.
“We’re working on it, because I don’t play that role for my club, but I am really enjoying it.”
Wilshere has certainly delivered some eye-catching performances in an England shirt, but it’s far too simplistic to suggest that doing well against Switzerland, San Marino, Slovenia and Scotland means he’s right for a similar role at Arsenal.
Maybe Arsene will give him a go there in the future? But if he does he’s still got the issue of figuring out who best complements him in the centre of the park…