Unfit, out of form and under pressure from two talented Merseyside midfielders, Jack Wilshere will be lucky to get on the plane to Brazil.
Three years ago, Jack Wilshere was being hailed as English football’s most exciting young midfielder since Paul Gascoigne, after standing toe-to-toe with Barcelona’s Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the Champions League for Arsenal.
But in a six-year career at the Emirates that has been blighted by injuries, the 22-year-old has made only 15 appearances for his country, scoring not even once. Wilshere is currently recovering from a fracture in his foot he sustained in March while on international duty and is touch-and-go for the last Premier League match of the season against Norwich City.
The youngster has been in the England fold since his breakthrough campaign in 2010-11, when his mercurial passing and movement seemed to defy his teenage years. Since then, he has developed into a quality footballer and has featured for Arsenal whenever fit.
However, too often Wilshere is not available, and Hodgson will soon have to decide on whether the Arsenal man is too risky or not to take to Brazil. Competition for places couldn’t be tougher either. The improved form of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Everton’s Ross Barkley this season has put his selection in serious doubt.
Hodgson would prefer to go with a balance of old heads and young legs. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will probably occupy the experienced central midfield roles, and that leaves the unfit and out-of-form Wilshere up against Barkley and Henderson - two players capable of providing energy and bite.
If he is selected, then Wilshere would not be a certain starter. With Lampard and Barkley offering more potency in attack coming off the bench, Hodgson might feel that the Arsenal man does not warrant a place in his World Cup squad.