Before England’s friendly with Brazil on Wednesday night, all the talk was about Ashley Cole’s 100th cap, the FA 125th anniversary and Neymar’s presence on the English stage.
Yet, after the match, there was no doubt the one man in demand from the press was Jack Wilshere, Arsenal’s combative midfielder who made his first England start in almost two years and exploded onto the international scene once again.
As all Arsenals fans know, Wilshere has been an ever-present force in the Gunners’ midfield this season and, without him, Arsene Wenger’s side would not be one of the favourites for a Champions League spot on betfair.com. Despite spending 15 months out with injury, the 21-year-old has slipped seamlessly back into the Arsenal squad and did just the same for England on Wednesday.
His tackling was robust and perfectly timed, plus he held his position well when not in possession – yet what will have impressed boss Roy Hodgson most was Wilshere’s forward play, where he proved the link between the midfield and a sometimes-isolated Wayne Rooney.
Although Frank Lampard scored the winning goal (and what a neat finish it was, by the way) Wilshere’s assist to set up Theo Walcott seconds before Rooney tapped in the opener was a delight to see and showcased his apt footballing brain.
Wilshere, as fans who bet on Premier League matches know, never does anything without giving one hundred percent and, despite Wednesday night only being a friendly, was determined to make a winning return to international football.
Hodgson’s squad has been crying out for this midfield dynamo and Wilshere’s ability to direct Steven Gerrard and Tom Cleverley across the park proves we have found the right formula heading into future World Cup qualifiers.
The midfielder now has eight Arsenal games before another round of qualifiers – against San Marino and Montenegro later in March – and is certain to be in Hodgson’s XI unless injuries get the better of him.