Jack Wilshere: Set him loose or hold him back?

Jack Wilshere says he is fit and ready for the new season but how should Arsene Wenger approach using him?

Wilshere heads into the pre-season schedule and start of the new season free of ankle problems, which have followed him around for much of the recent past.

At times he has looked like the best midfielder in England, showing a drive and determination to burst forward while not being afraid to get stuck in on the defensive side of things.

It could be very easy for Arsene Wenger to let him off the leash, especially in a World Cup year but the history of ankle problems may force the Frenchman to take an ever so slightly more cautious and sensible approach.

“They took the screws out, which was causing me a problem. I just want to have a good pre-season. I haven't had one for two years and it's like you're always playing catch-up,” said Wilshere.

It looks as though his prospects of long term ankle problems are now over but Wenger must get the balance right because Wilshere can be a bit like a terrier in the way he goes about Arsenal’s midfield.

It’s difficult to argue that’s a negative thing because for the large part it’s not but the Gunners will be kicking themselves if they let Wilshere go too hard too early.

Fortunately for the club Wenger has enough experience, enough knowledge of pre-season routines from his time at Arsenal to be able to judge how Wilshere is shaping up.

He also has the know how to be able to judge when to step in and tell Wilshere to take his foot off the gas a little bit and retain energy, protecting himself ahead of more important matches and situations for club and country.

A lot of it is also down to trust because if Wilshere is the best placed man to judge how he feels and how his ankles will react now that he’s had the troublesome screws taken out.

“The challenge for me is to maintain that [high] level and I know I can do it. I need a good pre-season. The first game against Aston Villa will be a massive target for me. I'll be ready and then play as much as possible,” he added.

It’s an important balance that the manager and the 21-year-old have to work out and fine tune because if he picks up another injury through showing a little too much intensity which could have been avoided, mentally that will be very tough on him.

All of the signs point towards something very positive. Arsenal have arguably their best player back to full fitness, his ambition is sky high and he seems very determined to hit the ground running come the start of the new season.

What would you do? Let him loose or hold him back a little bit?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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