Once upon a time, Jack Wilshere came up to play in the lineup of Arsenal, leading them to a 2-1 win over Barcelona, winning praises from everyone for standing up to the likes of Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield. His performance didn’t mean anything in the end, as the gunners were knocked out by Barcelona in the second leg, but a legend and promise of an overrated player was born.
For some reason, because Wilshere loves to try and take over the roles of everyone in the midfield at once, someone decided that he isn’t just the future of Arsenal, but of English football. Every time a semi-talented youngster gets a chance in the lineup of a big team in England, he becomes the future of a footballing nation which has great culture, stadiums, teams and fans, but simply not that many good footballers.
And Arsene Wenger began nurturing the boy – telling everyone that he shouldn’t be playing much, while squeezing every possible minute out of him for the gunners themselves. Hypocrisy an bending the truth is one of the things a manager must do very well, especially in times of need. Trying to make Wilshere into one of the best midfielders Europe has ever seen is simply lying to the people who follow the game.
Some say Arsenal are at risk of losing Wilshere this summer or the next one because of Arsenal being, well, so bad during recent years. Part of the reason they’ve been so bad? This false hope of Wilshere being the answer to everything that’s wrong. No defensive midfielder? Wilshere can play the 50-50 role and help defend. The quality of passing and finishing around the box is lacking? Wilshere will take care of that.
Truth is, Santi Cazrola, right now, is a much better player. Unlike Wilshere, he doesn’t force himself upon the game and simply run into the way of other players. Wilshere needs the ball at his feet, all the time, while the pieces move around him. For someone that isn’t as talented as the press and his manager probably keep telling him, he sure does get a lot of credit on the pitch.
Arsenal have looked better this season when Wilshere wasn’t on the pitch. It’s not that he’s a bad player, but for a team that bases so much of its talent in the midfield, having a player as dominant but not as productive is simply missing the point, and a direct weakening of the team.
Wilshere, if sold, could command quite a price this summer. Unlike other sales of Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, this one might actually do the team some good.