Jack Wilshere must be wishing he had a time machine after a rollercoaster week. First the Arsenal midfielder was pictured smoking outside a nightclub a
Jack Wilshere must be wishing he had a time machine after a rollercoaster week. First the Arsenal midfielder was pictured smoking outside a nightclub after his side’s 2-0 victory against Napoli in the Champions League, which led to manager Arsene Wenger brandishing the act “unprofessional.” Then, after a good talking to by his manager, Wilshere capped an up and down performance against West Brom on Sunday with his first Premier League goal in 3 years which earned the Gunners a point and took them back to the top of the table.
Amends made, right?
Not exactly. After apologising publicly for smoking and promising never to do it again, seemingly sweeping the whole matter under the carpet, Wilshere has since commented on the possibility of 18-year-old Manchester United star Adnan Januzaj playing for England:
“The only people who should play for England are English people. If you’ve lived in England for five years, for me, it doesn’t make you English. You shouldn’t play. It doesn’t mean you can play for that country. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain. For me an English player should play for England really.“
Regardless of whether you agree with Wilshere’s comments, the fact is, it’s not Adnan Januzaj the Gunner needs to worry about, its Ross Barkley. The Everton youngster has been in fine form for his club this season, scoring two league goals; the same total Jack Wilshere has for Arsenal in the Premier League. With his place in a talent littered Arsenal midfield already at risk, Wilshere can’t afford to lose his place to the Evertonian in a World Cup year.
What’s the big deal?
Now, Wilshere is probably wishing he’d never commented on the issue, especially after going back and forth with England Cricketer Kevin Pietersen on Twitter who asked him whether his comments meant himself, Mo Farah and others should never of represented England/Great Britain in their respective sports. If Adnan Januzaj, in five years time when he would be legally allowed, decided he wanted to represent England, why would anyone refuse him?
He’s just as English as the next person, inheriting the culture and language just like the rest of us who were born here. And surely the fact he’d wait five years to play international football just so he could represent England would mean that he has an affinity with the country that would warrant a place in the team. What if in 1998, then France Manager Aimé Jacquet, refused to call up Patrick Vieira, Lillian Thuram, Marcel Desailly and Christian Karembeu, who all played in their 3-0 World Cup Final win over Brazil, to the squad because they weren’t born in France?
In hindsight, Wilshere should be the last person with comments such as these after his “best friend in football,” Emmanuel Frimpong represented England at under 21 level and came close to being called up to the first team after being recommended by Arsene Wenger even though he is Ghanaian Born. To be fair to Wilshere though, he is not the first to make such claims after his former teammate Manuel Almunia wanted to represent England in 2009 after gaining citizenship, only to have then England Manager Fabio Capello dismiss his chances:
“Almunia, for me, is Spanish. He is Spanish and plays for the Arsenal team.”
It’s going to take a PR miracle to get Wilshere out of the storm he has created this week and the best way to do this, like last Sunday, is on the pitch. Wilshere needs to focus on regaining form and fitness for both club and country with his place in both teams far from certain.
Image: Ronnie MacDonald