As Jack Wilshere prepares to sign and Gareth Southgate’s England continue their quest to return football’s top honour to it’s spiritual home, it has become clear that there is something lacking from the nations midfield.
Jordan Henderson is industrious and reliable, Jessie Lingard plays between the lines and Dele Alli makes late runs into the box but there is a paucity of incisive passing from central areas. England seem to be launching attacks from set-plays and wide areas of the pitch and doing so remarkably successfully which has nullified the need for a playmaker.
However when games are tight and defenses are highly organised there doesn’t seem to be any ‘killer passes’ played along the ground from the traditional number ten area. It’s also evident that no midfielder appears able to trick their way past their opposite number on a regular basis to create two-on-one attacks against the defence. This is not to criticise the England manager of who’s system is working perfectly and has opted for team spirit and pragmatism rather than maverick genius.
There is nothing new in this of course as anyone who witnessed Paul Scholes continually deployed on the left wing by his country will testify. Also players such as Glenn Hoddle, Matt Le Tissier and Joe Cole were treated with suspicion rather than embraced as they would surely have been were their birth certificates different.
England do still posses players capable of unlocking a stout opposition rearguard but the manager has chosen to go another route. Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Wilshere are technically proficient, very comfortable on the ball and coincidentally both West Ham fans whilst growing up.
Perhaps they learn’t their silky skills because of their parents insisting on them playing in the manor of Brooking and his ilk but Southgate’s omission could well prove to be West Ham’s gain.
With Rafa Benitez unimpressed by David Sullivan’s overtures thus keeping Shelvey in the North East it has fallen on Mauel Pellegrini to entice Wilshere to his spiritual home. I for one am delighted by this and it seems that there has been a link between our beloved club and Jack since he burst into the scene at Arsenal many years ago.
I have always believed that West Ham and Wilshere would be a match made in heaven and the appointment of Pellegrini has only cemented my view further. Jack is my kind of footballer, left footed with a low center of gravity, who plays with his head up and always in control of the football.
In fact I’m going to stick my neck on the line and suggest that if he stays for the next 3 years (the length of his contract) then he’ll establish himself as a Hammers icon.
The West Ham Way
For too long our midfield combinations have let us down but Wilshere will get us playing, commit opposition players and surprise many with his endeavor. For far too long we have passed and stood still and I probably bore the match-day fans in my immediate vicinity when I constantly bang on about nobody being on Lanzini’s ‘wavelength’.
Jack is different though, he will pass and move quickly for the return ball and whilst Lanzini may not be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour just yet Arnie, Chicharito and overlapping full-backs will love playing alongside him.
It’s a good move for West Ham but also good for Wilshere too because he needs to be loved. At Arsenal he was never the number one player and there was always the feeling that only one of Ramsey, Chamberlain or Jack himself could play in the same side as Ozil.
I’m quite sure that after his first pirouette or nutmeg at the London Stadium Jack will endear himself to the crowd and a Wilshere song will follow shortly. He’ll see the move as a route back into Southgate’s plans and will be highly motivated which will surely suit us all.
So welcome to West Ham Jack in what is sure to be a proud day for his West Ham supporting family, it’s been a while but better late than never. We might have missed out on Jack the lad but Jack the man will do just fine.