Paul Scholes comments on Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson’s passing abilities

Jack Wilshere

Former Manchester United star Paul Scholes highlights the weakness Arsenal star Jack Wilshere and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson have in their game.

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has highlighted the area in which Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool are not outstanding: passing.

Writing in The Independent, the ex-England international explained: ‘It is quite obvious to me that we do not have a midfielder with the range of passing to exploit these three attacking players.

‘I like Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere and they played their positions well. But neither of them are outstanding passers of the ball. Neither takes risks nor looks for the movement of the strikers’.

The 39-year-old’s comments came in the light of England’s dire performance against Norway in a friendly international at London’s Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.

The game ended in a 1-0 win for the Three Lions, but it was far from inspiring and was played in front of just over 40,000 spectators.

Scholes was watching the match and was impressed with the movements of Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, but noted that lack of a world-class passer of the ball prevented the trio from having a more productive time in front of goal.

Which is why Scholes suggests that his former Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney should play in midfield for England’s Euro 2016 Group E qualifier against Switzerland in Basel on Monday, stating: ‘He is the best passer in the team and he can play that midfield role better than anyone’.

Whether or not England coach Roy Hodgson does that remains to be seen, but Scholes’s comments about Wilshere and Henderson’s passing abilities – or lack of them – do merit a statistical look of their performance in that area in the past two seasons.

2012-13 Premier League

  Total PassAccurate PassTotal Through BallAccurate Through BallTotal Long BallsAccurate Long BallsTotal Final Third PassesSuccessful Final Third PassesAppsMins
Jack Wilshere 1,192 1,028 36 9 83 64 520 408 25 1,696
Jordan Henderson 990 837 3 3 59 41 341 247 30 1,527

2013-14 Premier League

  Total PassAccurate PassTotal Through BallAccurate Through BallTotal Long BallsAccurate Long BallsTotal Final Third PassesSuccessful Final Third PassesAppsMins
Jordan Henderson 2,025 1,764 20 8 180 149 739 601 35 3,128
Jack Wilshere 1,219 1,050 30 10 70 60 527 406 24 1,719

2014-15 Premier League

  Total PassAccurate PassTotal Through BallAccurate Through BallTotal Long BallsAccurate Long BallsTotal Final Third PassesSuccessful Final Third PassesAppsMins
Jordan Henderson 154 131 2 1 14 8 54 41 3 270
Jack Wilshere 94 78 2 0 3 2 42 29 2 143

Wilshere is regarded by many as one of the most promising young English players, but his development has not been as great in the past couple of years as he would have wanted to.

Henderson is a hard-working midfielder who will do his best for his team, but he is not exactly in the same bracket as some of the best passers in the Premier League.

But can England’s lack of creativity be solely down to Wilshere and Henderson, who joined Liverpool from Sunderland in June 2011 for a reported transfer fee of £20 million? Will playing Rooney in midfield help the Three Lions?

There are many who believe that the 28-year-old is past his prime, and given his record in international tournaments for the 1966 World Cup winners, one is inclined to believe that changing Rooney’s position in the line-up is not going to yield great results.

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