The one thing Wilshere must improve to become world class

Jack Wilshere

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere is heralded by both club and country as the most exciting prospect of his generation.

The 21-year-old Englishman is the prodigal son for both club manager Arsene Wenger and national team boss Roy Hodgson.

The huge weight of expectation on his shoulders seems nothing much of a concern for the midfielder - when he plays, he is simply sublime, his quality comparable to the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and closer to home England captain Steven Gerrard.

But, whilst his technique, his range of passing, his vision, and his creativity are mature beyond his years, there is one part of his game he needs to improve - his finishing.

Wilshere has scored just four goals in the last three seasons with Arsenal. He has yet to break his duck for his country and whilst there are those who may argue that he's not a striker and goal scoring is not his jurisdiction, it is part of what makes the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Gerrard world-class.

The England skipper, for example, scores on average between 10 and 20 goals per season for Liverpool and has been consistently for around a decade. The record Chelsea’s Frank Lampard is the kind of 10 goals per season tally Wilshere ought to be capable of matching – he is, in my humble opinion, a far superior player than Lampard was at his age.

His teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed his quality and capability in front of goal against Brazil recently - Wilshere is two years his senior andpotentially  vying for a similar role in Hodgson's World Cup squad. It would be a great shame to see his Arsenal teammate overtake him in the pecking order with England due to his superior fitness record and his continued development as a result.

Wilshere has all the ingredients of a world-class midfielder but he has yet to really cook them. For a player of his quality who gets into forward positions, there will be moments when he should play the final ball to a teammate - perhaps a more accomplished finisher - but there will be times when he must shoot and he must score.

For a player with his skill level, finishing should be something that comes naturally to him. Whilst he rarely takes free kicks for Arsenal he is accomplished in dead-ball situations and, luckily for him, that kind of technique can be learnt - there are some qualities Wilshere already possesses that cannot be.

In my estimation, goal scoring on a regular basis will be something that will come with regular games, which, due to his injury problems, he has struggled to really find his optimum fitness, and the subsequent form confidence that comes with that.

Like a striker, his confidence and form in front of goal will be something that builds when he gets a decent run of games under his belt and really starts to hit his stride.

Until then Jack Wilshere will remain the most exciting young prospect in England but when he truly comes of age, and fulfills his potential, he'll be world class.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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