Every England friendly brings a long a little bit of randomness in terms of who’s going to be selected with players dropping like flies due to temporary injuries.
One player who is set to start against Brazil this evening and be the heartbeat of the side is Jack Wilshere.
It’s arguably one of the biggest tests that the Arsenal man has faced during his time in the national setup. Brazil are one of the most talented and exciting teams in the world and he’s in a direct battle against them.
This could be the making of Wilshere as an international player because he has the chance to pull the strings in the middle of the pitch and guide England to what would be a very unlikely win against the odds.
England have been searching for a long time, for players who are going to replace Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard who are not going to carry on playing for their country forever.
The reason this is such a big test for Wilshere is because it’s likely to examine his technique and basic skills as a midfield player, similarly to the way Barcelona tested him in his first experience of a Champions League tie against the Spanish giants.
Brazil are a side that like to dominate possession so when they lose the ball, they work very hard to try and win it back quickly which gives them the best possible chance of maintaining their pressure.
Whenever Wilshere gets time on the ball this evening, he is going to be pressed, hurried and harassed constantly throughout 90 minutes. There is no let up in international football and if he can cope admirably, his reputation will grow.
He stands a great chance of doing well because he’s been one of Arsene Wenger’s main men at Arsenal since he returned from a troublesome injury which kept him out at the start of the season.
The fact he’s retaining his place in amongst a brilliant group of midfielders at Arsenal suggests he’s already playing at a very high level and if he can dominate against Brazil, there will be several smiles appearing on the faces of England fans.
England are expected to lose so in a way he’s not under too much pressure but he has a chance to show why he should be first choice on a regular basis for his country.
Who else do you think is under pressure this evening?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald