Since the arrival of Arsene Wenger to the Premiership, Arsenal have produced creative players season after season. But how many of these players have gone on to achieve great things and realise the potential that we have credited them with?
With the emergence of Jack Wilshere over the last two years this again brings into question Wenger’s ability to develop a player, not just to blood talented youngsters in Carling Cup ties or Champions League group matches, but to ready a player for the big stage. Does Wenger still know how to produce a team that wins trophies? Does Jack Wilshere have it in him to succeed? Is he, dare we say it, overrated?
There is no doubting Wilshere’s ability. He is an excellent passer, with vision and poise, style and grace, has touch and technique that allow a unique control of the ball and his movement represents Arsenal under Wenger – positive, creative and clever. In addition, he has shown an excellent attitude in going on loan to Bolton, in an attempt to get valuable first team experience in the Premier League and as a way to perhaps ‘toughen up’ away from the comfort of the Emirates. These qualities were recognised by England and Fabio Capello when he made his debut against Hungary this summer.
However, with the cut-throat nature of the Premier League and the way of European football today, is it already time for Wilshere to step up and convert his God-given talents into titles? Or do we expect too much too much too soon of the next big thing?
There are some who believe that Wilshere has weaknesses. As with many of the Arsenal squad, could it be suggested that he is too lightweight, both physically and mentally? Does his small stature work against him in the tackle and in fact show itself as a hot-headed streak bound to bring trouble if not dealt with sooner rather than later? Does his age prevent him from being a real leader in a title-chasing team, a crucial element given his position on the pitch? Does he score enough goals from midfield? As 4-2-3-1 seems to be becoming more common, does he need to contribute in more than just assists to be considered truly great?
Maybe we ask too much of him at this young age and we should let him develop into the player we would all love to see. But there comes a time when Wenger’s building for the future must bear fruit. Is that time now? Does Wenger need to live for the present because tomorrow might not ever come? Does Jack Wilshere himself need to do what some of the greats of the game have done and achieve something whilst he is still young? Is he that good?
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