It would be fair to say the door opened for Paul Scholes to become a regular soccer pundit, when the ex Manchester united, and England Midfield maestro, made a guest appearance on SKYSPORTS to cover an Arsenal game some time last spring. In his post match analysis, he observed Arsenal's midfielders to be irresponsible; played "tippy-tappy", inferring a lack of end product to their play.
Notably, he mooted the idea Jack Wilshere's performances had plateaued after a bright start to his career. It was perhaps a breath taking indictment, framed in stinging, nonchalant fashion. The media never miss the opportunity to hire blunt, and direct characters.
Scholes' critique of young Jack Wilshere has however, aroused
wider scrutiny of the England International's performances, with suggestions he did not do enough to merit a place in England's World cup squad. It was only at the beginning of 2013, when England took on Brazil in a friendly at Wembley, when the Left footed Arsenal midfielder produced a dazzling midfield display that left many commentators purring.
It's happened to have gone rather flat since then, and the adulation has turned to groans and frustrations, with another notable ex England international, Jamie Carragher calling on the Arsenal number 10 to start producing more in games.
There's no doubt Jack Wilshere is on a hiding to nothing from here on. With Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard now retired from the England set-up, and England seemingly lacking many credible, top-notch midfielders, the jury is out on the 22 year old. Can he make the next grade ?It's make or break time!
The pertinent issue to the debate should be framed: why is Jack Wilshere seemingly treading water? why has he not gone on to be a stand out player many believe his talent deserves?
For starters, his off-field indiscretions has fed into the narrative of a player losing focus. But there are also a number of mitigating factors: Paramount of the bunch has been injuries. After missing the whole of 2011/12 season, he has yet to play an injury free season yet.....
When he burst on the scene, he seemed to possess the requisite strength, speed, and guile to go past opponents . Essentially, that acceleration and robustness in his game have gone missing; and that seems a direct consequence of a succession of ankle injuries.
Whilst his Managers at Arsenal and England have remained steadfast and believing in Wilshere's qualities, it won't be out of place to lay some of the blame at his Club manager, Arsene Wenger's door steps, as to why Jack Wilshere's performances have lost traction.
The lad is not going from strength to strength because the manger has not made him go back to basics. He needs to be told to smarten-up his midfield play. Wilshere persists in making the same fundamental mistakes like running into traffic when a simple pass will do; he has played too often in sterile fashion, hardly making goal scoring chances for team mates; neither has his passing range and vision been anything to write home about lately. Simply put, he is not at the cutting edge of midfield play.
Injuries or not, Wilshere's understanding of the finer technical and tactical aspects of a midfielder can be called to question at this point, and the person who sets up the tactical frame work on a day-to-day bases at Club level, is Arsene Wenger.
The level of frustration will grow if he does not get back in the groove sooner. Jack needs to learn beating his man is not a prerequisite for a midfielder, but a supplementary quality. He needs vision, and control of the game, offensively and defensively. He must learn to be a 12 -15 goal assist sort of player. These are the stats that matter. And the bases for that needs to be worked on by his Club coach.
It's too early to start comparing Jack Wilshere to anyone, but he has smashing potential. He is supposed to represent the breed of modern midfielders. However, he still is only 22, and we should not sling too much on his shoulders. Suffice to say, it would be a delight to see some vital signs of progress in aspects of his game, begin to emerge. Don't you think so Mr. Wenger ?
Let's hope first he has an injury free run this season for starters!