Made in England

What is it that prevents England from producing more players like Jack Wilshere?

When I think of how little impact Matt Le Tissier made in an England shirt, it makes me wonder. And remembering how brilliant Glenn Hoddle was as a player, it baffles me that by all accounts the recently deceased Bobby Robson (R.I.P.) was not entirely willing to use his gifts as a supremely talented and very skillful midfielder.

Paul Gascoigne was the exception of recent times that proves the rule. That he possessed the “British bulldog” spirit and approach was surely a plus but it seems that flair players of greater technique than grit, greater finesse than steel, but of equal amounts of passion as their more industrious, powerful counterparts are generally not Made In England. And when they are, they are few and far between.

Joe Cole comes to mind as one who might also fit that category but for all his success at Chelsea and for all his England caps, I can argue that he’s not lived up to expectations. Paul Scholes is another player of high technical ability, although he too had that “British bulldog” quality about him to partner the undoubted technical brilliance he possessed in his prime.

In recent times, players like Scott Parker have been glorified, even if only briefly. A cut above Parker in many respects, Gareth Barry too has been seen as perhaps a better player than he actually is. They work hard and they get stuck in. Great qualities! Indeed the same qualities that seem to be preferred to working smart and entertaining while still being effective. Sadly, finesse and flair are generally frowned upon. Power and industry are usually preferred.

In Jack Wilshere, Arsenal and eventually England will have a player who possesses all the flair and technique to become a fantastic, entertaining footballer. And as Wenger has stated, he’s got “power” now. He has been the finished article technique-wise for some time, as Arsene has mentioned as far back as two seasons ago. But the best thing about the boy’s development is that it is Arsene Wenger who will manage it. Fans are eager to see him if not just because they are turned off by using Eboue or Diaby or even Denilson (who earned his stripes in my opinion) instead of the young prodigy. Never mind tactics eh?

England seems to have produced a player of genuine flair in Wilshere. A player of both style and substance and he’s been developed by none other than Arsene Wenger. Not long ago the criticism du jour was that Wenger is ruining England’s chances to compete on the international level. The criticism peaked when we fielded not a single English player in a league game against Crystal Palace.

It’s funny how things can turn around. Now we have England’s next great hope in our squad. Made by Wenger.

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