Jack Wilshere’s return from injury is vitally important to England’s destiny at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Obviously Arsenal has more of a need for their midfielder to get back from his latest setback as soon as possible with their trophy ambitions. But for England fans and manager Roy Hodgson there will be anxiety over whether or not Wilshere will be ready to play in Brazil.
Just two years ago at Euro 2012, England were sent out on penalties to Italy in the quarterfinals. But that doesn’t even begin to come close to telling the full story of that game. England barely had the ball throughout the game, as the likes of Andrea Pirlo ran the show to stop Hodgson’s team from having a share of possession.
The response from English football followers was evident just hours after being knocked out. It was simply that England has to keep the ball better at major tournaments.
There is no denying that Wilshere is the best player whose game is tailored towards ball retention. Perhaps his game isn’t yet as disciplined in doing so as the best midfielders in the world, but having come through Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal ranks, it’s engrained within his mind to look after the ball – something that England have lacked in recent decades.
Without Wilshere on the England team this summer, it is a huge loss as there are little other options for players who are not only extremely dangerous and skillful but also as good as Wilshere at helping his side dominate possession.
For the England team, talk of a midfield with players who can keep the ball for extended periods of time in a game has been popular for many years. And now England have in my view one of the best in Europe at doing that, certainly for such a young age of just 22.
England’s hopes are low going into the World Cup and with or without Wilshere they will struggle. But with him they have a huge asset that is made for this sort of competition.