Are his Arsenal days numbered?

He was once dubbed England’s greatest young talent, but the career of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has taken a turn for the worse in recent months. There is absolutely no doubt that the 23-year-old possesses remarkable ability but it his lack of consistency in the Premier League and behaviour off the pitch that could result in Arsene Wenger losing faith in the England international.

It is no secret that Wilshere has had more than his fair share of injuries throughout his short career so far. This is probably the overriding factor in why the midfielder has not quite lived up to his potential as of yet. It is difficult for any player to return from an injury and immediately play at the top of their game and when you have an injury record like Jack Wilshere’s, it must be even more of a challenge to bounce back from yet another setback. Although it was suggested by that Wilshere could be out for up to five months following ankle surgery, the midfielder has recently returned to full training for Arsenal and will be desperate to get back into the first team.

Wilshere will undoubtedly want to be involved as soon as possible but it may be difficult for him to find a regular spot in the side straight away. In recent times, Wilshere has been used in more of a deeper-lying midfield role for both Arsenal and England. This may not be his best position but it is still an area where the England midfielder  can operate to a good effect.

However, Wilshere’s injury absence has coincided with the remarkable rise in form of the Frenchman Francis Coquelin, who has adapted to the defensive midfield role at Arsenal incredibly well. Keeping Coquelin out of the side is going to be very difficult.

Wilshere does have a good opportunity to return to the first team, however. The recent injury to Aaron Ramsey means that there is a space in Arsenal’s midfield for someone to occupy. In recent weeks, both Coquelin and Ramsey have played in deeper midfield roles to accommodate the likes of Sanchez, Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Ozil. Jack Wilshere will feel like he has a good chance of getting into the team and playing alongside Coquelin, but he has to impress when he is given the opportunity.

Recent controversy has surrounded the England midfielder after he was pictured in The Independent holding a shisha pipe on a night out. Of course, this wasn’t the first time Wilshere had been pictured smoking on a night out. Wenger is understood to be firmly against the idea of any of his players smoking and is quoted in The Telegraph as stating that Wilshere needed to ‘master his life’ off the pitch in order to produce good performances on it.

Clearly, Wilshere needs to turn his Arsenal career around pretty quickly if he wants to get back into Wenger’s good books. This becomes even more important when Arsenal are actually better performers without Wilshere in the side.

Stats in The Telegraph show they have won more games, conceded fewer goals and scored more in Wilshere’s absence compared to when he was featuring in the starting eleven. Although Arsenal’s increase in form isn’t a direct link to Wilshere’s absence, the England midfielder will still feel that he has a lot to prove upon his imminent return to Arsenal’s first team.

It has been suggested in The Mirror that Wilshere could leave the club in the summer if the right offer comes in. However, the 23-year-old will be desperate to impress Wenger from now until the end of the season. Wilshere does possess heaps of ability; he just needs to focus and keep luck on his side in order to impress the manager once again.