A crazy gamble or integral to England? The Jack Wilshere paradox

Date published: Wednesday 25th May 2016 8:41

Jack Wilshere: Worth the gamble for England?

Jack Wilshere: Worth the gamble for England?

Integral to England’s Euro 2016 plans or a crazy gamble? Derek Bilton focuses on Roy Hodgson’s Jack Wilshere paradox.

For those fed up of the absolute circus surrounding Manchester United and their protracted dismissed of Louis Van Gaal over the weekend, there was the consolation of finally seeing Jack Wilshere back at the heart of England’s midfield. Granted it was hardly awe-inspiring stuff from the Arsenal man, whose display was more workmanlike than worldy before he was withdrawn after 66 minutes of a surprisingly competitive friendly against Turkey. But for a player who has played just 141 minutes of first-team football this season the important thing was to get through the match unscathed. Job done in that respect, but he still faces a race to make it onto the England plane heading over the channel to France in just a few weeks.

There are plenty of people who feel he should be nowhere near the squad given his current fitness issues and injury history. This is a player who has been plagued by fitness problems since bursting onto the scene as a precocious 16-year-old some eight years ago. This season has been a virtual write off, while he also missed a large chunk of the season before that and has not completed a full 90 minutes for Arsenal since September 2014. That is a worrying statistic when you think about the rigours of modern international tournament football and you wonder just how his body will hold up when going tete-a-tete with Europe’s best.


Which of these players is most in danger of being axed from England’s Euro 2016 squad?

  • Nathaniel Clyne
  • Fabian Delph
  • Jordan Henderson
  • Ross Barkley
  • Danny Drinkwater
  • Andros Townsend
  • Marcus Rashford


In stark contrast, Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater is in the form of his life and has a Premier League winners medal on his sideboard at home having starred during the Foxes’ unlikely title triumph this season. Indeed Drinkwater started more Premier League games this season than his Euro 2016 midfield rivals Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph combined.

Let’s have it right here, Roy Hodgson is taking a sizeable gamble by going with Wilshere. Just a week or so ago Vicente Del Bosque bombed out Jack’s Arsenal team-mate Santi Cazorla from his provisional Spanish Euro 2016 squad after expressing doubts about his fitness. Cazorla was out for five months but like Wilshere returned to action at the end of Arsenal’s Premier League campaign. For him though it was too late with Del Bosque remarking “We didn’t want to have too many players with doubts about their physical condition.”

Hodgson has doubts about Wilshere’s physical condition but he is a player in whom he has complete faith in terms of his ability. He is a player who helped England forget the shambles that was the 2014 World Cup with a series of accomplished displays in Euro 2016 qualifying. The 24-year-old played in five qualifiers, and you could make a case for him being man-of-the-match in four of those. He’s a player Hodgson trusts. He’s done it before for him and he’s done it when it mattered.

Jack Wilshere Jordan Henderson

Unsurprisingly Wilshere himself is in no doubt he can reach peak fitness before England’s first match against Russia on June 11. After Sunday’s 2-1 win at the Etihad he said: “You always have those dark days when you are in the gym where you think you’re not going to get back. But the thing that kept me going was I know what it takes to get back and I always had time on my side so I was confident.”

A fully- fit Wilshere is a special talent. His display at the base of the diamond in England’s win away to Switzerland – their first competitive game after Brazil 2014 – was fantastic. Do Delph, Henderson or Drinkwater have the technical ability of Wilshere? Of course they don’t. But then what good is technical ability if you are limping around a physio room at a major tournament unable to influence matters on the pitch? It’s a huge call for Hodgson. But for me, all things considered, taking Wilshere is a gamble worth taking. If it comes off and he does get up to full speed in terms of fitness and starts doing what we know he can, he could be the difference between the Three Lions going all the way and finally ending 50 years of hurt. But if he ends up crocked and England slip to another early exit. Well that doesn’t bare thinking about.

Jack is going to be Hodgson’s best friend or his number one enemy this summer. That is the Wilshere paradox.

Derek Bilton

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Home Forums Should Jack Wilshere be heading to Euro 2016?

This topic contains 12 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  the specialone 8 months ago.

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    Matthew Briggs

    Integral to England’s Euro 2016 plans or a crazy gamble? Derek Bilton focuses on Roy Hodgson’s Jack Wilshere paradox.

    [See the full post at: Should Jack Wilshere be heading to Euro 2016?]



    Jack and Sterling are the only two I wouldn’t take. Their form has been poor when they get game time.

    I would take Henderson, Rooney and Al over Jack easily. And I’m a heavy critic of Rooney as well.



    well he should last a few minutes in his first game before he limps off again


    the specialone

    I really do question how many on this site are true English fans because there are certainly many that pretend to be.

    Just to reiterate,these “people” you mention in your article who question whether Jack should go to the Euros are the same people who suggested he should not play at the world cup 2014.He didn’t and England went out the group stages.

    He was integral during our qualifying stage,being names Six out of 7 times MOTM.
    The only real question was his fitness.I say the fact that he’s been injured for most of the season indicates he will be even fresher for the Euros.
    If a player like wilshere who is currently fit,and has been mesmerising in his recent training clips I’ve seen of England can’t get into a 23 man squad,it is the exact reason why England will never win anything.

    Actually It dosen’t matter too much what these people are saying,because Everyone knows they are not England but rival club haters.Roy himself came and said if Wilshere was “Mechanically fit”,there was never a question whether he would not be included in the squad.The fact that there is even an Article on whether he should be included or not bamboozles me.


    I remember saying that Hodgson will go and pick Wilshere (and Shaw) by default for this tournament. Wilshere is going for sure.

    Should he be picked though? I reckon he has played more football than I expected him to have done at this point and I think he must be taken to the Euros now that he has proven his fitness to an extent. There is no other player who has his attributes driving the ball forward from midfield and his form for England over the years has been excellent to say the least.

    I reckon he must go, even if he is an injury risk it’s a very short tournament.



    Only if he buys a ticket



    Why is it, players who have not really had a crack with England, get hammered. But the likes of Rooney who has been front and centre at every England calamity for over a decade, gets the nod of approval?

    Wilshere hasnt let England down yet. He hasnt been part of a group of players that underwhelm and fail to satisfy even the lowest of expectations.

    Are we worried Wilshere wont be good enough to play at the high level of performance displayed in 2014 in Brazil?

    People write of Wilshere (and others) as if the players that came before them did wonders for England. Listening to talksport, they were talking about the current lot of midfielders and wondering if they are good enough to follow Lampard, Gerrard, Carrick and co. Really? I never knew England were so competitive when Lampard and Gerrard were playing.

    Wilshere may do poorly, but even if he does, he wont have let anyone down, as poor has been the benchmark for England for many years. 2002 against Argentina, thats the last top team we have beaten in the international arena.



    I will admit that i had severe reservations about Wilshere going, as thespecialone knows, however on the balance of things I’ve revised my thoughts and believe he should go with the squad. Blue_lagoon makes a great point about the players who have played for England who are widely considered to be some of the best at club level can cannot translate that form and ability onto the international stage.

    Whether Wilshere should start or not is another argument. Do we use him for the start to utilise his influence earlier on but risk him against fully fit opposition or bring him on with 30 mins to go when the opposition will naturally start to lose fitness but allow him to apply himself to the game effectively without too much concern about his fitness for the next game. If used appropriately he will definitely be a worthwhile addition to the squad and the correct decision.



    Said it before, I don’t think anybody is really commenting on his talent, it’s his fitness issues that have everybody concerned. Would anybody really be surprised if he breaks down in the friendlies/pre-tournement training period? I certainly wouldn’t.

    I also don’t buy the “he’s had some great games when fit” argument either. Just about every player on the planet has had some “great games”, so what? There are quite a few players who have better injury records who have also had quite a few “great games” over the last 12 months compared to Wilshire’s 200ish minutes of first class football this season.



    Banjo – I tend to agree, also the is no way he is going to be match sharp after that amount of time out.



    In my opinion, you take him. He is our most talented centre mid and offers something different to the others that are in the squad. There is obviously a question about his fitness but if Roy manages him right then hopefully he will be ok. The great thing about this England squad is that we have options. I don’t think Wilshere can play 3 games in a week, so play him the first 2 games, rest him for the third. Same with sturridge in my opinion. If he is fit he goes. 30 mins as sub first game, stant the second and have 60 mins and sub the third game. Roy is lucky we have so many options in this squad.


    based on talent he 100% has to go. wasnt great against turkey but might be a bit rusty and thats the problem. he is unreliable with regards to his fitness and having been out injured all season it could take time to get him completely match fit. tournaments are hard work with only a couple days of rest before the next game.


    the specialone

    Good to see finally there are some real English fans on here.

    You’re right his fitness cannot be trusted,but at the moment he is fit and you can only rely upon that.You simply have to find a place for one of your most talented players in a squad of 23!.

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