lot of chatter this morning about Jack Wilshere. As I look around the headlines I see Steven Gerrard calling him a ‘one off’ under a headline labelling him ‘world class’, and Liam Brady says there’s much more to come from the midfielder. Then I saw another headline saying: Roy: keep calm over Wilshere and I immediately thought ‘Trust Keane not to go overboard’, but it turns out it’s Roy Hodgson being the voice of reason.
He has the potential to become one of the best in the world. I don’t want to put any pressure on him, but having played against him recently and seen him in training, he’s a one-off. He’s a lot better than your normal Premier League midfielder.
I think he will be up there with the very, very skilful creative English players. In my time it was Glenn Hoddle, (Paul) Gascoigne came after that and then (Wayne) Rooney and I think Wilshere will be in that mix. He’s only going to get better.
I hope everyone is going to understand he is still a young man, he is 21 and still capable of playing in the under-21s, not that he will. I’m anxious in some ways and, while delighted with his form and the way he plays and sharing everyone’s enthusiasm about his quality, I want to play it down a bit too.
People who can’t see the potential Jack Wilshere has is clearly quite barmy indeed but I like Hodgson’s approach. Not that anyone, and the media in particular, will pay the slightest bit of attention to what he says. Now that he’s back and playing for England he is brilliant and awesome and great, but should he fail to meet the high standards expected of him they’ll be the first to go to town on him. England games see the press that follow them at their bombastic worst.
It’s the classic build him up, knock him down approach that they take with everyone and the most important thing is that Jack himself is aware of it. His talent, coupled with the sympathy and goodwill he’s got from being out for so long, makes him the golden boy of English football, but he is just 21, and his form may fluctuate. When that happens, and they look for other things, perhaps off the pitch, that they can use to chart his decline, then it might start to get problematic.
We’ve seen it happen with other players. Not that I’m suggesting there’s any comparison between Jack and David Bentley but he was the bright young thing a few seasons back. He was ready to make that right hand position his own, but got carried away, believed the hype and before he could do anything about it he was so far up his own arse he could wash his face sitting on a bidet.
Jack seems a lot more grounded to me, less inclined towards the bright lights and the fame. He’s more interested in the football and I think that will remain the case. Nevertheless, Hodgson’s caution is welcome, not least because it’s simple common sense in a game that doesn’t have very much of that going on these days.
Elsewhere, Tomas Rosicky is due to play for the Czech national team with the blessing of Arsene Wenger, even though they’d agreed that friendly games would be something he’d leave behind due to his injury problems. Rosicky told the Czech press:
We resolved that I would wouldn’t risk friendly matches and would play only qualifiers. Now that the Turkey game has come along we’ve agreed that I lack game time and need to play.
No doubt he needs to play and get match fit, and hopefully he can find some form between now and the end of the season because he’s a player who can make a difference. It’s difficult to see how he fits into a starting XI these days, given the midfielders we’ve got, but too often this season we’ve bemoaned the bench and the lack of options from it and he certainly provides that when he’s fit.
Astoundingly, when he picked up his injury at the European Championships he, and the Czech medical team, thought he might be able to play again quite soon. As it turns out he’d ruptured his Achilles tendon! Can you imagine the scene in the doctor’s office:
“Hi, Tom Rosicky!”
“Hi, Doctor Nick!”
Anyone who has suffered from any kind of Achilles problem will know that it’s not at all pleasant and the idea that you could be told ‘Sure you might make the next game’ after rupturing a tendon is mad. Anyway, here we are, lets hope he gets through the game with no problems and that he can stay part of the squad for the games to come.
Other than that, there’s little to speak about. Other than to tell you that you should keep an eye out later for something of a competition involving a certain lego-haired Spaniard.