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England and their football experts are constantly contradicting themselves with every other sentences. First, they will fantasize about winning the World Cup with their Golden Generation. A generation that has many of them on each side of 30 years of age. A generation that probably should have peaked 4 years ago and not this one. Yet, at the slightest hint of failure, they lament on the national coach’s failure to inject young blood into the squad.
Changing the squad and replacing them with up and coming players will not be an easy transition and success cannot be an immediate one. Likewise for Arsenal and especially Jack Wilshere, great expectations needs to be tempered with the measure of patience. Wilshere started his first Premier League game 2 days ago and his performance in that match is no where near the fantasy we all dreamed off.
There was no slalom runs past players and no turn of skills to remember off. There was also no decisive or defence splitting pass or even breathtaking cross field balls. Do we only judge someone with the potential of Wilshere, only with those attributes? In a game where he needed to be discipline in a more central role that is neither too offensive or defensive, he needed just to make the simple pass and play the simple game.
He had an average game by his own standards but it was a commendable performance on his behalf against a very strong Liverpool midfield. Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano are two world class midfielders and without some measure of discipline on Wilshere’s part, Arsenal could’ve been easily overrun by these two. Abou Diaby, who basically had no match practice to boost his stamina could not withstand the strength of the Liverpool duo without the help of Wilshere.
However, let’s not hide the fact that we do expect great things from our young number 18. He is capable of magic as we have seen in Carling Cup and Emirates Cup matches of previous years. It can’t be helped that he will always be judged based on past performances. Those great performances will come, that I have no reservations. A move to one of the wide berths could help, or even the Fabregas/Nasri role, we can fully expect to see a bit more of Wilshere’s repertoire.
One thing not to forget is that his age is exactly the same as the number he wears on the Arsenal jersey. Given more playing time and he is bound to grow to be an influential player for club and country. Until that happens, any judgement have to be in moderation. After being long criticised for bringing English players through the squad, suddenly Arsenal have plenty. Looks like Benik Afobe and Chucks Aneke could be the next big thing. Like Wilshere, they will also need time to grow before we heap great expectations on them.