Arsenal invincible pinpoints one key way Jack Wilshere must improve

Sol Campbell believes Jack Wilshere must do all he can to ensure he is not a target for defenders.

A number of ex-professionals have had their say on the progress of Jack Wilshere in recent months, so you can imagine the midfielder is just glad to get back on the pitch.

The England international started for Arsenal against Besiktas on Tuesday night, steady if unspectacular in the 0-0 draw.

Former Gunners defender Sol Campbell was an ITV pundit for the match, and gave his brief opinion on where the 22-year-old needs to improve, and in part it is no fault of his own.

He said: "He's definitely one of the guys who needs to improve, he's got the skill, he's got the temperament, but he's got to stay injury free.

"He's got to realise, when to hold onto the ball, and when to release it. A lot of defenders are hacking him down round his ankles."

Considering Wilshere's ankle injury history, Campbell's suggestion that players may be deliberately targeting him is certainly a controversial one.

Whether they would or not, Campbell's advice is shrewd, Wilshere needs to look after himself and take steps to adjust his game to reduce injury risks.

Intriguing statistics from last season back up Campbell's suggestion, that Wilshere is holding onto the ball for too long.

  PosDribbles Attempted / appsDribbles won / appsOverrun Dribbles / apps% of Dribbles attempted - wonWas Fouled / apps
Jack Wilshere MF 4.13 1.88 0.38 45.45 1.83
Mesut Özil MF 3.46 1.73 0.35 50.00 0.96
Aaron Ramsey MF 3.09 1.30 0.26 42.25 1.09
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain MF 3.07 1.50 0.14 48.84 0.71
Santiago Cazorla MF 2.97 1.58 0.16 53.26 1.03
Serge Gnabry MF 2.44 1.22 0.11 50.00 0.78
Theo Walcott MF 2.31 0.69 0.15 30.00 0.54
Olivier Giroud FW 2.28 0.69 0.11 30.49 1.61
Kieran Gibbs DF 1.57 0.68 0.25 43.18 0.39

Wilshere attempted more dribbles per game than any Arsenal player in the side, but fell short in the percentage of his attempts being successful - fifth best of the top 10 most prolific dribblers.

He also overran too many attempts, the most of any of his teammates per game, and was fouled more times per game on average than any other Arsenal star.

Campbell's advice to release the ball quicker, to pass and move, can only help prolong Wilshere's career, and ensure his progress is not stunted in the short-term.

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