England Expects That Jack Will Do His Duty
International week continues to be a pain in the Arsenal with no rational explanation from anyone as to why the governing bodies claimed this particular week as their own. It is a good news day though.
Johan Djourou‘s knee injury is not as bad as was first feared apparently, severe bruising the suffering he has endured and that might be cleared up by the weekend. This is all via the Swiss Football Federation and the player so well done to Arsenal for carrying this information so quickly to the public domain.
Jack Wilshere is the focus of media attention this morning with Samir Nasri getting the ball rolling,
I like Jack as a player, he is never scared.I like his attitude and he reminds me a bit of me when I was younger. He is a great, great, great prospect.
Praise indeed from the man who should be crowned Player of the Year by writers and his peers for his performances this season. Nasri will not win the FWA Award, Harry Redknapp’s manipulation of the weak-minded media will ensure that a hat-trick in the San Siro is enough for Gareth Bale to win the award. The players are a different story, Rio Ferdinand amongst those who have complimented Nasri on his form.
Back to Wilshere. Nasri’s words are expected; they are teammates and Jack has had kind words to say for everyone in the squad. The problem comes when people such as James Lawton go totally OTT, observing that not since Bobby Moore has England ‘unleashed a prodigy like Wilshere’.
Such words will only serve to increase the pressure on the player. Expectations have already been raised and dashed with Theo Walcott, manifesting in a gleeful media at his omission from South Africa. This is the same media who now clamour for his inclusion in any squad.
This pendulum reinforces the perceptions people have. Walcott is still derided following last year’s debacle. Arguably he has not suffered, his club form the most consistent that he has shown since arriving at Arsenal.
However, the weight of expectation is such that Walcott must score a hat-trick in every international otherwise the manager will treat him as a scapegoat, withdrawing him when the long ball tactics that Capello consistently employs, fail.
Wilshere should be protected from such expectations and managerial folly. By mentioning him in the same breath as Moore, Lawton has evoked memories of 1966 which might be good for copy but is not so good for the player. Invariably those who have the nation’s hopes on their shoulders at this level, let the nation down through individual and collective failures.
Capello offered similarly high hopes, observing that Maldini, Baresi and Raul all started their international careers at a young age. The Italian tempered that view though, noting that Wilshere needs to improve every time.
The most telling condemnation of the hype came from Nicklas Bendtner,
Theo can be a lesson for the way you treat Jack. It’s important to take it easy and realise he is a kid…Youngsters are always put under a lot of pressure very early in England but Jack can be a great, great player for his country.
It is easy to work out why. The media increase expectations at every tournament. England fail to live up to them in every tournament.
Jack Wilshere can be the most outstanding talent of his generation. He has the technical ability to be remembered as a footballing great. But this is all potential – can we just enjoy a talented young player maturing in the public eye and do away with all of the hype?