As reported by The Telegraph, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere’s chances of making England’s World Cup squad are now in doubt after the player had to withdraw from the country’s international friendly with the Netherlands on Friday.
Wilshere‘s injury problems over the last few seasons have been well documented, but he’s largely put them to one side this season, making 33 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions.
That put him into contention to win his first England cap since 2016 against the Dutch this evening, but he did not travel with the England squad after struggling with a tendon problem in his knee.
The Telegraph reckon that has thrown his chances of appearing in this summer’s World Cup into doubt.
Manager Gareth Southgate also indicated his injury issues are a problem, going on to discuss the physicality required at the top level.
As quoted by The Telegraph, the England boss said:
Whatever happens over the next few months, there’s a longer future for Jack Wilshere that’s just as important as what happens over the next few months. Of course we’d want a player of his talent available and fit, but he’s had to overcome injuries and we have to have sympathy with that.
There’s a level required physically at the top level of domestic and international football, not only in terms of getting on the pitch but performing at a very high-level.
To express the skills you have you have to be at peak physical condition or you can’t express that talent. For any player in the squad, that’s an important factor.
The midfielder’s withdrawal from the friendly will be a bitter blow personally, although the paper do report the injury is not thought to be serious, therefore unlikely to impact Arsenal too much and he could even be fit for the Italy game in which England are 23/20 favourites with 888sport.
For club and country then, Wilshere’s future appears to be in doubt.
Reports have emerged this week linking him with a move away from the Emirates this summer, with clubs like Everton said to be interested in his services.
There’s no doubt that on his day he has the ability to be an effective midfielder at Premier League level and there’s argument to be made that Arsenal will miss him if he does leave.
However his injury issues are well noted and awarding him a new contract on big wages could backfire on the Gunners.
England don’t have that problem but with his fitness again falling down while on international duty, can Southgate afford to invest time and effort into his national rehabilitation with others waiting in the wings?