Jack Wilshere‘s ability is getting stifled by persistent fouls on him in the Premier League, and referees need to take a look at it more closely.
The Arsenal and England midfielder is supremely talented with the ball; however, that talent inevitably means that the opposition fears and therefore has to stop it. As it has been in the EPL for quite some time now, simply getting physical is the easiest option.
Getting into a debate about whether that is the correct way to go about stopping quality or not is a whole different matter, but Wilshere is becoming a huge victim of this. Each and every game, you see him take a hit from an opponent almost every other time he touches the ball.
Wilshere has been fouled 35 times this season, which may not seem like that much, but it seems that the referees are letting it slide. This is perhaps the natural thing to do because Wilshere tends to have others around him to collect the ball. But that means these aggressive challenges are going unnoticed.
“Protection” is commonly requested of referees by managers when they have a player who is a victim of harsh tackles. That said, it’s not up to the referees to protect Wilshere, but to punish those who have little intent of winning the ball fairly. The referees need to penalise those who purely intend to end any chance of Wilshere causing them harm via dirty tactics.
You can see why he gets so frustrated as he has suffered injuries that have put him out for long periods in the past. Yet, he still has to endure the barrage of challenges week in week out. It does raise the question of whether he is perhaps better suited to a mainland Europe style of football, where this close-up way of dealing with technical players is rarer. But for now, it is a blatantly obvious hindrance to his game.
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