Never one to shy away from voicing his opinions, Arsene Wenger has been in the news again recently for condemning the FA for saying they will take the ‘strongest team possible’ to the European Under-21 tournament in Demark next year. The bone of contention Wenger has is that this will inevitably mean a call-up for 18 year-old Jack Wilshere, who may have already featured just a week earlier for the England senior side in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland on June 4th.
Wenger has noted that;
“Jack Wilshere will play more than 40 games this season and, at 18, you have to be conscious that every time he plays, when he goes into the fight, he has to put in 200 per cent to win the ball. When a guy like him has played 40 games in the season, he needs a rest.”
Whilst also stating that;
‘The FA have to decide if he is in the first team or the Under 21s. Personally, I don’t believe a player ever performs when he has been in the top team and comes back to the Under 21s.’
We are by now, very used to the Wenger take on things, and love him or hate him, he invariably has an opinion. But is he right to be worried about the national team’s utilisation of one of his side’s prize assets?
It seems to me rather demanding of the FA to expect Wilshere to play for both the senior side and the Under-21s, and as Wenger says, the FA should probably make there mind up as to where they want him, not that this is putting Wilshere himself off the chance to play for both. However, I feel Wenger has a point.
This is perhaps not a typical club vs. country row; for starters Wenger has not expressed his dissatisfaction with Wilshere playing for his country full stop, more that he dislikes the idea of a potential summer off for one of his young talents being dashed by two facets of the national side.
I for one, can sympathise with Wenger, because how many times have we seen prodigious young talent have their career’s ruined by overzealous managers and officials, wanting to utilise their talents at every turn? The issue I believe is that Wenger himself is not in control of England’s usage of Wilshere. Wenger can use Wilshere as much as he likes, after all, Arsenal pay his wages, but with the youngster at the mercy of the FA all summer long, the decision is taken out of his control, and right or wrong, isn’t this the crux of the issue?