The flair will return for England when Jack's back in the team
22:26 GMT, 18 October 2012
Having Jack Wilshere back in the England team will make a big difference but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking one player can turn us into world-beaters.
Roy Hodgson’s side aren’t creating many chances at the moment and although they are doing well not to lose matches, there is not much imagination in the team.
Key player: Wilshere in action for England against Wales in Cardiff last year
Our best chances come when Steven Gerrard drives forward but we can’t expect him to be Roy of the Rovers all the time. We need creativity out wide, as well as the inevitable flair Wilshere will bring through the middle.
What Wilshere excels at is one-twos around the box and they are the
most difficult thing in football to defend against because your natural
reaction is to follow the ball rather than the man. It is something Andres
Iniesta and Xavi have made a living out of.
Flair: England will receive a boost when Wilshere retires
THE STATS SAY…
Wilshere has an 87 per cent pass
completion rate in an England shirt — the third best from the current crop of central midfielders. Tom Cleverley is top with 92 per cent and Scott Parker is second with 89 per cent.
In 2010-11, his last full season playing Premier League football, Wilshere had the third highest pass average in the attacking third — 43.7 per 90 minutes — only behind Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas (57.3) and Chelsea’s Michael Essien (44.6).
Wilshere, like all very good players, has an image in his head of where the next pass is going — that means he is a step ahead and rarely loses possession. It’s as if he has wing mirrors.
So he will give England a lift, although he shouldn’t be surprised if he picks up a few more niggles. It’s perfectly normal when returning from a big spell out to pick up secondary injuries.
England have two ways they can use Wilshere. He could sit in front of the back four and be England’s Andrea Pirlo, having more than 100 touches per match and dictating the game.
He is a good tackler so that would work well, though I wonder if he’s a little too young for that role.
Alternatively, you can use him higher up the pitch, linking with Wayne Rooney. As long as we get him on the ball lots, England will benefit.
In the thick of it: Steven Gerrard in action for England in Poland on Wednesday