I don’t normally pay much attention to Tony Cascarino except to disagree with him, so I’m not sure if I should rather parochially point out when I concur with his views, but here goes anyway. These were his comments on Wilshere’s performance against Brazil:
“The highlight [of England v Brazil] for me was seeing Wilshere deliver the sort of performance that lights up a stadium. I just love watching him play. We are worrying about Paul Gascoigne’s health right now but Wilshere reminds me of the happier times when Gazza would dominate in midfield. Wilshere is the first England midfield player since Gazza in the 1990s to use his strength to burst through the middle, get his body in front of people and force the opponent to commit to the tackle. Once Wilshere has drawn the tackle he then finds the pass.
“It was evident how much Wayne Rooney enjoyed playing in the same team as him. Rooney’s goal was all about Wilshere’s ability to wreak havoc among the defence and create space.
“He is almost the finished article, but what he needs to add to his game is the ability to score from midfield. Wilshere can do no better than to learn from Frank Lampard, who scores from this area because he shoots early. Wilshere needs to be a bit more selfish – right now he’s looking for the pass.”
Cascarino has hit on the problem with Arsenal’s attack there: looking for the pass even when the shot is the better option. That’s been bred into Jack for the last eight or nine years, so he’s not immediately going to change when he pulls on an England shirt. England are just going to have to put up with magnificent passing and tackling, and find someone else to put the leather in the onion bag. Possibly Theo, if he keeps watching those ‘Do It Like Thierry’ DVDs I gave him for his birthday; they seem to be working so far.
Meanwhile Roy Hodgson said of Wilshere: “I was trying to protect him [from the hype and expectation] yesterday, but he doesn’t need it. You can crank the expectations up as much as you like, but he’s comfortable. If he can keep up that level of performance, he will soon justify all the expectations and hopes, because he was very, very good.”
Good old Roy. Now tell Stuart Pearce to give up his ridiculous notion of Jack playing in the U-21s. That’s supposed to be a training ground for the senior team, a way of preparing, not an end in itself, Pearce, you dingbat!
Here are a few stats on Wilshere’s performance from the Brazil game, courtesy of The Times: