Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal future looks uncertain, to say the least.
Having spent an indifferent season on loan at Bournemouth, he suffered a hairline crack in his calf bone – another injury in his seemingly never ending list – and has missed all of pre-season so far having returned to Arsenal.
Despite once being seen as the future of The Gunners and the England national team, Wilshere’s development has stalled because of his constant ailments and his time at the club might now be up.
However, I think Wilshere still has a future at Arsenal. Here’s why.
Before suffering the 13th major injury of his career, the Englishman was being managed well by Eddie Howe and the Bournemouth medical team, making 27 appearances for the Cherries.
More importantly, he played the full 90 minutes in 15 of those games, showing that he may have turned a corner in terms of fitness.
While many ridiculed Wilshere for his injury, the challenge that led to it – in a game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane – was robust and would likely have injured most players.
Rather than focusing on the negative of another injury, we should be focusing on the positives.
Apart from two games against Arsenal when he was ineligible, the 25-year-old played 21 consecutive games in 2016/17 and suffered only one non-contact injury that kept him out for just one game.
He may not have scored and only picked up two assists, but the fact that the midfielder played so many games and minutes is a huge step in the right direction.
The way Wilshere was managed at Bournemouth was key. He was taken care of by Eddie Howe and Arsene Wenger needs to do the same to have any chance of seeing the best of the Englishman.
Wilshere initially left Arsenal for game time, and he found that at Bournemouth.
However, he may have to settle for a role on the bench initial, although he could easily play his way into the team.
His driving runs through midfield and into the heart of opposing defences have become a trademark of his game. It’s this quality that could prove Wilshere to be a crucial impact player for Arsenal.
If Arsene Wenger’s side are chasing the game or need a change of impetus, the midfielder’s forward drive could be the perfect solution.
The New Formation
The change to the 3-4-2-1 formation by Wenger was a masterstroke.
The success towards the back end of the season, including the FA Cup final win over Chelsea, has convinced the Frenchman to stick with it.
As part of the new system, two central midfielders are deployed, something that could see Wilshere thrive.
When Arsenal played in the 4-2-3-1, he was played used as a holding midfielder, unable to displace Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla from the attacking midfield spot. This limited his attacking capabilities and decreased his impact upon the team.
However, playing as a central midfielder would allow Wilshere to sit deep, dictate play and then change the tempo of the game by driving forward with the ball at his feet.
This new position could well see Wilshere begin to show the form of his early years once again and play a major role for Arsenal.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey have formed a solid and dependable partnership in midfield but, the problems will begin to arise if the latter is missing.
With Santi Cazorla injured, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny not possessing the correct qualities to replace Ramsey – a man who has an injury record that could probably rival Wilshere’s – Arsenal have no direct cover for the key Welshman…apart from Wilshere.
Both like to drive forward and although Ramsey likes to do so without the ball, Wilshere’s runs with the ball at his feet could adequately replace that.
Unless Wenger brings in someone as cover for Ramsey, ‘Super Jack’ is going to be needed.
Europa League games in far flung corners of Europe on Thursday nights next season are also going to stretch the squad to its limits, so the more bodies the better.
There Has To Be A Point
If Wilshere is sold, then what was the point in his loan move?
The whole idea behind his temporary exit from Arsenal was to get him games, minutes and to prove his fitness.
Having done that to an extent, why would Wenger get rid of him now?
As I’ve already proven, he is needed. We know of his quality, talent, and impact so, in my opinion, he must be retained.
All he needs is a chance to have a good season, for care to be taken regarding his fitness and a bit of love from the Arsenal faithful. If that happens, we could see the Wilshere that dominated Barcelona back in 2011 return.
Being born in the same hospital, living in the same town at opposite ends of the street, meeting Wilshere on a few of occasions and being a Gooner does give me a bit of biased towards the midfielder, but name me an Arsenal fan who doesn’t want to see him do well?
He has been with the club since the age of nine and I think it’s about time the club rewarded his loyalty by showing a bit of faith in him, giving him the protection he needs and letting him have a chance to prove himself.
John Lennon once said ‘Give Peace a Chance’. All I’m saying is ‘Give Jack a Chance’.