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Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Jack Wilshere, England’s Midfield has a Bright Future



Future meets present as England and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (r) tussles for the ball with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

In every generation (or less) in a club or country, a new player surfaces from the shadows and immediately becomes the center of debate within the local media and beyond. Football pundits and fans alike begin to draw comparisons between that emerging talent and legends whose times have come and gone.

So you are likely to hear upcoming players being touted as the next Gerrards, Thierry Henrys, Eric Cantonas, Ronaldos, Zidanes, Peles, Maradonas and Gascoignes, to name but a few. However, only a few get close to levels that earned legendary status to those who they are compared with. Most of them fall by the wayside, others become big-time flops while the lucky few brandish their own football style. Even fewer ones get to surpass what their predecessors did.

On the night of Wednesday February 6th, two teams met for an international friendly at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England. Much of the talk in the England-Brazil matchup was about the return of Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, (hey, that’s Ronaldinho) to the Brazil lineup as well as the likely impact of one Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior.

A long night was in store for an England team who had never beaten the world’s most stylish national team for 23 years. Ronaldinho more or less represented the Brazil of the old, while Neymar the current one. Much of the pre-match talk was about the two as well as the fact that Ashley Cole was celebrating his centenary caps for his country, and the Football Association was celebrating its 150th anniversary.

However, at the end of 90 minutes, much of the positive talk was neither about Neymar nor Ronaldinho but about one young man from Stevenage who emerged the hero in front of a 90,000 capacity crowd. While the Brazilian duo and their supporting cast kind of managed to fluff their lines, little and young Jack Wilshere, 21, displayed maturity in the England midfield that his captain Steven Gerrard, who he played alongside in the first half, must have been proud of.

The Arsenal youth product was industrious as much as he was effective and efficient with the ball during his time on the field. He ran the rings around the midfield, using his customary clever movement, tremendous vision, precise passing and proficient combination play to devastating effect.

Here, we were witnessing a player who has been at the center of everything good Arsenal have had to offer in the second half of the season.

Even after conceding a penalty which Ronaldinho missed, the Arsenal No. 10 never let that moment direct his game, and he wouldn’t have, anyway, had the Brazilian converted the spot-kick. Such is the maturity that bellies his tender age that he is seen as Arsenal and England’s future captain.

Of course he wouldn’t be one now until Steven Gerrard, the player he considers his role model, drops the captain’s armband when he calls it a day on his international career.

There are few comparisons between the two players though but if England has anyone close to being the ace that Stevie G has been for the Three Lions, then that man is Jack Andrew Garry Wilshere, the future of England’s midfield. 

And That's thesteifmastertake!!