So I was driving home the other day and thinking to myself, this might just be the least excited I’ve ever been ahead of a summer that will be overrun by the World Cup.
I’ve always been a bit of a hopeless romantic when it comes to England and major tournaments, constantly looking for any reason to be optimistic when a little voice in the back of my head is telling me not to bet on us qualifying from the group stages.
Admittedly (shamefully rather) I was one of those guys who hung an England flag out of my bedroom window but as I’ve grown up my expectations have slowly become more realistic.
Being an Arsenal fan I’ve pretty much grown up on standards slipping, whether it’s through players’ attitude on the pitch or a managers lack of momentum off of it.
When it comes to England what you see is what you get; an average yet overrated squad managed by a former player who’s biggest triumph whilst representing his country was handing in his retirement papers.
I’m aware I’m kind’ve getting away from the point of my headline now, so before you all get bored I think it’s a pretty good time to mention that Jack Wilshere is England’s best hope of turning things around.
The 26-year-old is set to represent the Three Lions for the first time in over two years as England complete their preparations for Russia with friendly matches against Netherlands and Italy.
Now let’s be real here, it’s England… in a friendly… against Holland… not exactly centre stage just yet but there’s only one pair of eyes that Wilshere needs to have on him.
Gareth Southgate will be faced with some big decisions when naming his 23-man squad but Wilshere, if not already, should be one of the first names on his list to board the plane.
Wilshere has proven plenty of Arsenal fans wrong over the course of this season and having picked up minutes and/or MOTM performances in the big games his place is more than justified.
What does he offer that we don’t have in Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard or The Ox I hear you ask? Well, he’s got a footballing brain and you can see that just by watching his movement off the ball.
His head is thinking three, four, five passes ahead of the one that’s just been played into the final third, constantly acknowledging where he should be before the opposing defender has got into position.
As you’ll see in the video below, former England defender and Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, said earlier this season “Wilshere could live in any side in Europe comfortably” – now that’s a guy that’s worked alongside literally some of the best to ever play the game.
— ٰ (@GranitZaka) March 21, 2018
Take the bias out of it, ignore the fact he plays for Arsenal or he gets a bit mouthy sometimes and just sit back and watch this guy play football because we really do have nobody else like it for England.
The next few days provide him with a huge chance to cancel out any doubt and just command a midfield that should be setting their sights on more than just a vacation in Russia.