Arsene Wenger still believes Jack Wilshere can work his way into England’s World Cup squad despite Gareth Southgate shunning the chance to select the Arsenal midfielder for his injury-hit Three Lions squad last week.
Wilshere has not played for England since their defeat to Iceland in EURO 2016 and has to overcome a lack of Premier League game time and a debate over his best position if he’s to have a chance of travelling to Russia next summer.
“To keep fit and work hard,” replied Wenger when asked what his player needs to do to win over Southgate in the coming months.
“It is what he does at the moment. It’s going well for him. At the moment he is on plan and slowly I think he will get into the [plans] of Southgate again and his creative aspects of his game, if he keeps fit, will be a big asset for him.”
For his part, Wilshere, who is already doing his coaching badges as he looks to a life after playing, is adamant that he’s matured in the last couple of years.
Speaking to the Arsenal Magazine, the 25-year-old noted: “I think [I have changed]. I’m married now and I’ve got two kids, I’m 25.
“Since I was 18, 19 you do a lot of growing up. People say to you when you’re 21, 22 that you’ll grow up a lot in the next few years and you’re just like ‘Nah, no chance’. But then, when you look back, you were doing things at 21 that you wouldn’t think about doing now.
“So I think I’ve changed, I’ve grown up. I’ve got a wife, two kids and I’m getting older now.
“As you get older, you appreciate what you’ve got and your game time, your minutes and that you’re fit. Not just fit and playing, because I’m fit at the minute, and I’m not necessarily playing but I’m happy and I’m available for selection and that’s all you can ask for.
“There are going to be times in your career when you’re injured, you’re going to miss out on things and you have to use those moments and those hours in the gym as motivation for when you’re back to want to stay there.”