Is Jack Wilshere playing his way into England's World Cup squad?
By Joe Harker
When he's fit and playing regularly he's considered among England's best midfielders, perhaps the best of the bunch. The problem with Jack Wilshere is that he's often injured and when he's not can struggle for playing time. However, he is enjoying a decent string of performances for Arsenal and reviving hopes that he could be part of the England squad that heads to Russia for the World Cup. Gunners fans are overjoyed to see Wilshere back and showing what he can do and if he continues to impress then he must surely he picked by England manager Gareth Southgate.
Wilshere was a favourite of former England manager Roy Hodgson, but has found game time harder to come by since Southgate took over. Whether due to injury or lack of playing time he has not made enough of a case for inclusion thus far, although Southgate would appear to want a player like Wilshere in his setup. Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Winks has been compared to Wilshere in playing style and was recently given his England debut. If Southgate wants a midfielder with good technical ability then Wilshere fits the bill and he has plenty of experience playing for his country.
A dominant performance against Crystal Palace, now managed by Hodgson, has reignited the debate about Wilshere and helped win plenty around to the idea of him being on the plane to Russia. He is getting a run of games in the heart of Arsenal's midfield in a role that could be similar to one he could play for England. The national team would likely be better with him in it as there are few with the ability that he possesses. Southgate has said that he cannot consider Wilshere unless he is playing for Arsenal, so his run of games can only be good news.
His performances could also help him in a more domestic context. He is almost in the last six months of his contract and if not offered a new deal he will leave Arsenal in the summer. Both he and manager Arsene Wenger are eager to see a deal done and cementing a place in the first team could speed up the process. In addition, the likely departures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil makes Wilshere all the more vital to the Gunners. He could be finding his feet at just the right time for club and country.