Why this season is now the toughest challenge of Wilshere's career so far

Jack Wilshere has challenges at both Arsenal and with the England national team as he stares at a very important season.

Wilshere has made seven starts and has appeared as a substitute twice across all competitions for Arsenal this season as he tries to nail down a regular role for himself in the Arsenal first team.

Mesut Ozil’s arrival from Real Madrid has led to the German becoming the primary attacking midfielder at the club while Aaron Ramsey’s superb form this season makes the Welshman one of the most important central players.

Add to the mix how successful Mathieu Flamini has been to the team and it’s difficult to see how Wilshere can fit into the team in any position other than down one of the flanks.

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Arsenal have been plagued by injuries this season, which has seen them stretched in wide areas but the good news for the 21-year-old is he’s been successful when he’s been asked to play down either side of the team.

What he offers is control and someone Arsene Wenger knows he can rely on because he protects the ball well and has an impressive passing success rate this season of 87% across all competitions.

His England role is less obvious because Roy Hodgson has no need to use him in wide position, preferring to play him through the middle where he has shown the most potential.

Hodgson has always been a very honest manager who will give top players at top clubs a chance if there is a place for him in his England side.

Wilshere is behind Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick in the England pecking order but he’s certainly a good option to come into the middle of the team when he’s called upon.

When the likes of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are back into full swing at Arsenal, Wilshere will be released to focus on nailing down a central position in the team.

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If he can make an impression centrally over the rest of the season with the Gunners then Hodgson will have little choice other than to start him centrally in England colours.

It’s important to bear in mind that England won’t be so aggressive at the World Cup and they could well play three central midfielders, flanked by wide players with Wayne Rooney as the sole centre forward.

There is no reason Wilshere can’t be one of those three central players and he’s got a long season ahead of him to prove that he can be just as good as Ramsey and Ozil have been this season through the middle of Arsenal’s team.

Arsenal fans, what have you made of him so far this season?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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