Internationals & Internet: Responsible Use Required
As the international break passes its mid-point, the initial injury scare over Nicklas Bendtner appears to be just that as reports of his demise have been quickly usurped by reports of his return to fitness. As with Cesc, he looks likely to be available for the match against Blackburn in just over a week’s time.
Arsène will be hoping that both are ready, along with the other twelve at the club who have gone on their late season jaunts, to give the squad a extremely strong look going into that fixture. Whether Alex Song will be there remains to be seen. The only news on his fitness seems to be “He will not be available” from the manager’s pre-match interviews.
There is a danger of the Cameroonean disappearing into the injury black hole that has consumed Thomas Vermaelen, some sort of Brian Cox in the future will probably discover their fossilised remains and use it as a theory to explain some event in the stars. Still, at least he can be serened with an updated version of “Things Can Only Get Better“. Which if you are a fossilised remain is pretty much the truth.
As it is, the Football Association seems intent on adding Jack Wilshere to that list. Stuart Pearce has apparently decided that the youngster will travel with the Under 21 squad to Scandinavia this summer for the European Championship at that level. It seems that Pearce is not learning from the lessons of the past or quite simply does not care about the players. My guess is that it is the latter camp into which he falls.
At 18, Wilshere is appearing in the senior squad, as well as being a regular for his club. Youngsters are frequently believed to be capable of playing as many games as possible. It was that mentality that led to Theo Walcott being consistenly injured since Pearce intervened two years ago. Whilst Walcott had hereditary problems with his shoulders, there was little wrong with his back before playing for senior and junior international teams in the same month following a full season with his club.
That Pearce is seeking to use Wilshere this time around highlights two things. Firstly, how much Wilshere has progressed in twelve months and secondly, the paucity of English talent in that age group.
Wilshere has endeared himself to the Arsenal support with his performances but also because of his willingness to engage with supporters via Twitter. There are several players on there, unusually willing to ‘converse’. Wilshere observed that it is a good way to gauge feelings following matches.
Personally, I have not read comments post-match but it would be interesting to see if they are complimentary; they are not on blogs so it begs the question as to why those who vent online do not go the whole hog and tell the players what they think.
The question of social media is thorny. The Football Association want it regulated out of use, draconian measures employed to keep players in line. The clubs are wary lest players use it to disparage and not ‘toe the line’. Whereas it could, and should, be used as an important link between the players and supporters.
A lot of focus is on the players and their words. It would be nice if the same attention was paid to the words of supporters. Whilst there is only a small minority who berate and abuse, it is little surprise that those are the things which stick in players minds. Little wonder that the gap between those who play and those who pay shows no sign of closing.
It is an opportunity for a little of the mystique to be removed. A bit of responsibility will go a long way.