Ex-Spurs star backs under-fire Arsenal midfielder to be 'world class' - on one condition

Former Tottenham and England midfielder Darren Anderton has backed Jack Wilshere to be 'world class' if he stays injury-free for six months.

England get their 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign underway against Switzerland tonight, with manager Roy Hodgson expected to bring in a new era of players for the Three Lions. Midfield is a particular area of the team which should see changes after the international retirements of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, both of whom have been integral parts of the England setup for well over 10 years.

A number of players will now be hoping to break into the team; Jordan Henderson should make a midfield position his own, whilst the likes of Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph and James Ward-Prowse should also be emerging.

Yet one player who has received his fair share of criticism in recent months is Arsenal's Jack Wilshere. Tipped to the top having broken in to the Arsenal and England setups at the age of just 18, Wilshere has seen his career stagnate in recent years through injury and off-field misdemeanours - leading to some suggesting that he wont live up to the potential he showed as a youngster.

One of his biggest critics so far has been former England and Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, who says Wilshere hasn't developed at all of late. However, Scholes' former England team mate Darren Anderton - famed for being called 'Sicknote' because of his injuries - says Wilshere can be world class if he stays fit.

"If someone like Jack Wilshere can steer clear of injury for six months, he will become a world-class player," said Anderton, who made over 300 appearances for Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham. "I understand what Scholesy was saying. Yes, he hasn't gone forward from the player that burst on to the scene, but some of that is down to injury."

"It takes time to get your match sharpness back," added Anderton. "I have been through that. When you come back people want to see that same player straight away, but it's tough. Players just don't get time."

At juts 22, Wilshere still has plenty of time to reach his potential. However, he needs to not only stay fit but also stay out of trouble. The midfielder has been caught smoking a number of times now, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger won't stand for his extra-curricular activities much longer - leading many to suggest that this could be a make or break season for Wilshere.

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