Pearce & Capello Need To Work Out What Is Best For Wilshere
Last month Little Jack Wilshere must have wondered what he had to do to receive international recognition from Fabio Capello. His performances had been consistently good in the first team yet he was not called up. This despite doing exactly what the Italian had told him he had to; get first XI football on a regular basis.
So this week’s call up to the Under-21s must have been a bit of a blow, even though it is for the play-off for the junior European Championships, an important match for this level. Bewilderingly, he received a call-up to the full squad for the home Euro2012 qualifying clash with Montenegro at the same time. My knowledge of the travel industry is a little rusty but I am pretty sure that Wilshere is going to find it hard to play a match in Romania and get back to Wembley for kick-off. In fact he will probably struggle for the second half. And that is before you get to his fitness.
Would Messrs Pearce and Capello please care to elaborate? They did to an extent, the man formerly known as ‘Psycho’ (TMFKAP) clarified the position. Essentially, Wilshere stays with the Under-21s if the result on Friday does not leave them with a clear margin of victory for the tie. Or Capello decides he wants Wilshere with the full squad. A not unreasonable outcome. Which benefits the player more is debatable; two competitive matches at a junior level or one wholly one-sided affair with the seniors, in which he will play about four and a half minutes.
Where this become even messier – let’s face it, this is something to do with the FA so it is bound to be crap – is the following observation made by TMFKAP:
Jack is one of the youngest members of the Under-21 squad and for me it is vital that he plays as much football as he can.
Given the almighty screw up with Theo Walcott’s fitness, it is hardly surprising that the comment caused a fair amount of consternation. Had the rest of the quote been publicised as heavily, fears would be shown to be misplaced:
If we just left him with the seniors this time, he would have missed the game on Friday and I’ve no idea whether Fabio would pick him to start on Tuesday against Montenegro…The most important thing is the care of the player. Jack will be fine for a place in the side on Friday and then we will make a decision from there in respect of whether Fabio wants him after Friday or whether he plays the second leg with me.
We could fast-track a lot of young players possibly but what is the point of being with the senior squad and not playing? The real experience in football is to actually play.
Leaving aside TMKAP’s vested interest in qualifying, he is actually right as far as international football is concerned. The only thing Wilshere can learn from the full England squad is bad habits. The majority of the squad can barely trap a ball, let alone pass and move in the manner that Arsenal do. At least at the lower level a certain amount of tactical knowledge must be imparted to achieve their qualifying objective. And with that Wilshere will see just how good a manager Wenger really is or the polar opposite with TMFKAP.
Arsene believes that they should get their act together, leave the petty game playing alone and generally stop messing Wilshere around. It isn’t going to happen. Capello has to get England to Euro2012, TMFKAP a similar target. Capello’s contract is up after that event and frankly I doubt he cares whether or not the next generation is ready for Brazil2014; he needs them now because the current crop is absolutely atrocious. They proved it in South Africa.
As far as Arsenal is concerned, burnout is the issue. Walcott’s season was ruined by overplaying in the summer. A spell at the lower level consistently might be preferrable for competitive matches if Wilshere is going to be rotating in and out of the first team, depending on the fixtures. Should he be in the first team on a regular basis, being with the senior squad might be the better option yet not playing for them is of little use.
Whatever the case, Wenger won’t have far to look to find out if one of his charges has received a knock whilst away. Turning onto ITV will provide the answer.