Jack Wilshere has not had the best career for a 24-year-old. There have been many highs, such as that night against Barcelona when he played the game of his life, and when he also tends to up his game when playing for England.
He has the potential to be one of England’s best all round midfielders, with his willingness to play anywhere in midfield, either as a box-to box midfielder, playing off the striker or in a holding role. Whichever position he chooses, he is still one of England’s most exciting players.
But injuries have robbed him of some of the best years of his career, and he spends more time on the medical table than he does on the pitch. For Arsenal fans, he is a frustrating figure, with them wincing every time he goes into a challenge for fear he will get injured again.
Wilshere is yet to make an appearance this season, and only made 14 last term. Having been sidelined since August, Wilshere will now struggle to readapt and get match fitness at a time when Arsenal are fighting on three fronts for trophies.
With the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League battles underway, Wilshere will have a hard time justifying why he needs to start. In his absence, Francis Coquelin has risen to the challenge and proven himself as one of Arsenal’s best midfielders.
Add in the continued influence of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey, as well as Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being pushed into the centre, and it’s clear competition for places is high at the Emirates this season.
At a time when they need experienced heads and match fitness, Wilshere is sure to miss out in the important matches against Barcelona, Hull, Manchester United and Tottenham.
For these matches, Wenger will demand 100%, and, considering he has been out six months, Wilshere will find it hard to provide this.
For England, Wilshere should be able to walk straight back into that team should he stay fit. Roy has always been a big fan of Wilshere, and he will be one of the first names on the team sheet if he can keep him self consistently injury-free.
Providing he can get himself fit in time, Wilshere will be on the plane to France. Hodgson likes to use Wilshere as a holding midfielder, but he uses his talent to create space to make attacking situations. The fact he has won six Man of the Match awards in seven England matches says it all about how well he performs on the international stage.
Wilshere’s recovery from his next match will be important, and he could play a key part in Arsenal’s title run in. Even if he comes off the bench, he provides that experience and exciting play that can be the difference between a win and a draw.
But it will be hard to find a starting berth when he does eventually return.