As news filtered through last night that Roy Hodgson was considering a midfield diamond against Switzerland, Arsenal fans may have been surprise to see Jack Wilshere mentioned as the holding player.
Wilshere has been tipped to play a containing role in front of the back four for the Gunners this season and last night provided an interesting insight into how he might get on in that position for his club.
Arsene Wenger was unable to sign a defensive midfielder for Arsenal before the close of the transfer window, which means that until January at least, the Gunners may rotate Wilshere with other options in that position.
We’ve taken a look at some key areas of his stats from the game last night to judge whether he’d be effective in the role long term for his club.
Wilshere made just one tackle putting him in a group of seven England stars to swoop in with just a single challenge during the game.
The Arsenal man is a feisty player, capable of sticking up for himself and his team in the middle of the pitch but it wasn’t a majorly heated contest, with no need for Wilshere to make a physical impression on the opposition.
He made just a single interception which was two behind teammate Jordan Henderson.
That’s a little surprising considering Wilshere generally reads the play in a big game very well, getting himself into good positions to cut off the angles and to make it difficult for the opposition to move possession around quickly.
He only produced 51 touches during the game, which is competitive and encouraging against the rest of England’s midfield quartet; Henderson 50, Delph 57 and Sterling 56.
What that shows is a great positional understanding from Wilshere and an ability to make himself available to receive the ball in a deep midfield position when his side are under pressure.
Passes and Accuracy
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Wilshere’s passing stats weren’t majorly impressive during the game; 44 passes and an 84% passing accuracy.
He wasn’t in a position where he could get further forward and impose himself on the game in the same way he regularly does in Arsenal colours.
Wilshere is an extremely talented player capable of playing the ‘Pirlo-role’ for both Arsenal and England but he definitely needs more time in a deeper position to be effective.