Latest Tips

M'gladbach vs Stuttgart Brentford vs Chelsea Clermont vs Lille Lazio vs Inter Milan Levante vs Getafe

After yet another international break where England failed to impressed it is no surprise to see people calling for Jack Wilshere.

The midfielder was omitted by Gareth Southgate for the matches against Slovenia and Lithuania.

However, it is clear that after two 1-0 victories England are crying out for a player in Wilshere’s mould.

They lack a midfielder who will receive the ball and look to play forward, instead of the safe sideways pass.

It is why Tottenham’s Harry Winks was given the chance to impress. The fact he has made just four Premier League starts in his career demonstrates England’s desperation for a player of his and Wilshere’s ilk.

“Jack is certainly one of the players who has that more than anybody else,” says his club manager Arsene Wenger.

“We have plenty of good players, but he is maybe more of a No.10 than any other player.

“He can open spaces, can play in tight areas, can get out of tight areas as well.”

People may agree with Wenger that Wilshere could aid England’s cause but there are doubts as to whether he can do so while at Arsenal.

There is an argument that the 25-year-old needs to leave the Emirates to get regular football. So far this season he has been limited to Carabao Cup and Europa League games.

On Saturday, during the Gunners' 2-1 defeat away to Watford, Wilshere was stripped and ready to come on during the second half with the game tied, but a knock for Laurent Koscielny forced Wenger to change his plans and bring on Rob Holding.

In a parallel universe somewhere perhaps the Englishman came on and set up Arsenal for an equaliser.

For many, Wilshere must be playing every week in the Premier League if he is to get into Southgate’s plans.

Wenger, however, disagrees.

“I don’t think so,” the Frenchman says when asked if Wilshere needs to leave Arsenal to get in England’s World Cup squad.

“I believe that Jack at the moment is in the best form I’ve seen him in for a long time.

“He’s very close now to being considered like anybody else. Overall I believe he doesn’t necessarily have to leave Arsenal to reach the World Cup.

“If he keeps going like he’s going at the moment, he will go to the World Cup, I’m sure. I don’t see Jack being fully fit and not going to the World Cup.

“He’s already played games for us since the start of the season, and he will play many more.”

On first reflection some may think Wenger is simply saying this to keep hold of Wilshere. With Arsenal fighting on several fronts this season the Frenchman needs a deep squad.

Wilshere has already shown he will be a valuable component, particularly in Europe, and Wenger won’t want to lose that.

However, in reality, Wenger’s claim that Wilshere doesn’t need to leave Arsenal to get an England recall has foundation.

Dropping down to a smaller side for more action would not necessarily guarantee the midfielder the World Cup spot he craves.

His decision to go on loan to Bournemouth certainly did not aid Wilshere’s cause last season. He was called up by Southgate in November 2016. But for both the games against Scotland and Spain he was an unused sub.

The fact is when you no longer play for one of the Premier League’s so-called big clubs it can be hard to get in the England squad.

Look at someone like Tom Cleverley. He has 13 England caps to his name to date. When did they come?

When he played 31 games for Aston Villa during the 2014/15 season? Or maybe when he was at Everton the following campaign?

No, all 13 of those appearances came in 2012 and 2013 when he was a squad player at Manchester United.

Southgate may have said he won’t pick on reputation, but there is an underlying scepticism around selecting someone from a so-called smaller club.

Take Jesse Lingard.

He has not started a single Premier League game for Manchester United this season and yet, he was picked by Southgate for the most recent international break.

Contrast that with Nathan Redmond, who is playing regularly at Southampton and being overlooked.

The truth is that if you are outside of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, even if you are playing exceptionally well you can be ignored.

Look at Jermain Defoe during the 2015/16 season, for example. In a sinking Sunderland side he bagged 15 Premier League goals, but he was not part of the squad for Euro 2016.

Marcus Rashford, who had just burst onto the scene at Manchester United, got the nod over him.

Darren Bent had a similar issue in 2010.

He scored an incredible 24 Premier League goals then for Sunderland, a tally only beaten by Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney, but he was not picked for the World Cup.

Instead Peter Crouch, who had struck eight times in the league for Tottenham, went.

Admittedly Crouch’s international pedigree impacted that call, but there is little more Bent could have done that season.

Had he scored say 14 goals for a top six side would he have gone?

We will obviously never know, but there is good chance he could have been on the plane to South Africa in that scenario.

And this is why Wilshere should not be itching to leave Arsenal. People may tell him he needs to be playing regularly elsewhere, but history has shown us being at a bigger club will help.

Wilshere has already impressed this season on his rare outings for Arsenal and more of those performances will only strengthen his cause.

They will certainly be worth more to his quest to go the World Cup than moving away from one of England’s biggest clubs.

“I wish he goes to the World Cup,” says Wenger.

And if the Frenchman can keep Wilshere fit, he may well get his wish after all.

Arsenal