Jack Wilshere Can Be the New Bobby Moore for England

Arsene Wenger has claimed that Jack Wilshere can be a natural leader for England, comparing him to Bobby Moore and Zinedine Zidane

Arsene Wenger has claimed Jack Wilshere can be England’s Bobby Moore and Zinedine Zidane all rolled into one.

Frenchman Wenger is clearly not worried by accusations that Wilshere is being over hyped as the Arsenal manager made a staunch defence of his midfielder.

Wilshere, 21, came under the spotlight after England’s lacklustre draw in Ukraine but Wenger says he is a “fantastic” player who can lead the nation to next summer’s World Cup finals.

Wenger claims every major country needs a focal point and Zidane and Michel Platini have done it for France while Wilshere “has the capacity” to take the mantle on from England’s 1966 World Cup winning captain Moore.

“National teams need a guy who absorbs this type of pressure and takes it,” said Wenger. “We had Zidane. When the France team didn’t play well it was all Zidane’s fault.

“Before we had Platini, in the history of the French national team, it stops when Platini stops, the results. They stopped when Zidane stopped. You need a good generation but you also need one player.

“Jack can take that, he is young, only 21. He has the characteristics to do that (take the Moore mantle on). He is not fazed by the importance of the game. He is not inhibited. But he needs to play six months without any problem.

“Jack has been a doubt a little bit physically. The problem in the modern game, you need to be absolutely 100 per cent physically to express your talent. Or you don’t.

“At the moment Jack is not completely at his best physically. That’s why people start to question his performances but I think he is a fantastic footballer and he will show that. He needs consistency now.”

It was remarkable praise from Wenger and an unwavering show of faith as he also made it clear that Wilshere will benefit from playing alongside Arsenal’s new £42m signing Mesut Ozil.

This is not media hype but a manager who has worked with some of the biggest names in the world putting Wilshere on the same level as world class legendary names.

At the same time, Wenger admitted that often too much pressure is put on Wilshere’s shoulders and that is why national teams can be suffocated under the levels of expectation.

But Wenger insisted that people should stop questioning Wilshere’s ability and just accept it was an off-night in Ukraine.

Wenger said: “That’s the problem with national teams. I watched the French team it was a bit the same: How can it happen? You have all these players, one plays at Bayern, another plays at Real Madrid, one plays at Arsenal, the other one at Paris Saint-Germain…

“You put them all together and nothing happens. It is a mystery.

“And the pressure suddenly for all the players is completely different. In the club they are used to it in a certain way it’s different in the National team.

“If Jack Wilshere has the same game at Arsenal we just say today he was not at his best. But when he has that game in the national team suddenly everyone questions your ability.

“The players play in the national team with that kind of pressure that comes from everybody. I didn’t see the Ukraine game, I asked him (Wilshere) about it a bit. He is conscious that England was not at its best. It can happen.”

Wilshere had surgery at the end of May and was given a strict rehabilitation programme through pre-season which means he is still not fully match fit.

But Wenger insists that playing alongside Ozil – as he will at Sunderland (today) – and also being injury-free for a few months will get Wilshere back to his best.

Wenger added: “Of course Jack can learn from Ozil. We all benefit from being with to level people in our job. Jack has the personality to be a top, top, top player. He has gone through a difficult period.

“Jack is at the start of his season. But we are now in September. If he can continue to play in October and November he will be normal.”

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