Why the decision on Arsenal starlet is a grave mistake!

Football FanCast columnist Billy Pearson feels that the
decision to fast-track Jack Wilshere through the international ranks is a huge
mistake.

When Theo
Walcott was called up for England's 2006 World Cup squad, it is fair to say
that the response to the decision was varied. It seemed a crazy decision by
Eriksson, given that the youngster had yet to play a first team game for Arsene
Wenger's side, and he was to be rightly criticised as Sven failed to give him a
chance, even in the pre-tournament friendlies. Of course none of this was the
then 17r olds fault, after all he didn't pick the squad, but I cannot help that
the decision to take him to Germany had a detrimental effect on the player who,
in truth, has taken over two years to finally find his feet.

I'm certain that
I am not the only Arsenal fan who had great reservations about Theo Walcott and
his abilities in the last couple of seasons. Wenger himself was quite scathing
of the player at the start of the calendar year and felt it was time for the
Theo to finally step up to the plate and fulfill his undoubted potential.
Whether Arsene was playing mind games with the player remains to be seen, but
there is no question that Walcott is starting to evolve and showing why we
splashed out so much money on him in January 2006.

I look back at
the last two years and I wonder how much the hype and suddenly being thrust
into the spotlight affected his progress. Here was an exceptional kid who was
just learning his trade and suddenly he was dubbed as England's new superstar
with the world at his feet. I know Walcott gives out an extreme calm persona
and never looks flustered by anything, but I just wonder whether the expectation
level put an unnecessary weight on his shoulders and subsequently damaged his
confidence and the speed of his development.

The reason for
my concerns is down to reports that England are looking to fast track teenage
sensation Jack Wilshere through the international ranks, starting with the
U21s. You would think that Arsene Wenger, notoriously protective of his young
guns would be dead against the proposed move; however he has seemingly endorsed
the move, despite admitting that it will take at least two years for the player
to prove that he is mentally up to the task and whether his game matures to the
required level.

I just cannot
see the logic in such a move and with my England head on here, I fail to see
the benefit of it. How will Wilshere on the back of a few performances for the
U21s be ready for the World Cup in 2010? It seems a crazy decision and to be
honest I would not want to see a player called up for the South African squad (should we qualify of course) who is
likely to have only played a handful of first team games for Arsenal. It doesn't
make any sense and as it was with Walcott, an unnecessary expectation to throw
on a 16yr old who is just learning his trade.

Is the decision to fast track Jack Wilshere a correct one?