Jack Wilshere says he is watching videos of Xabi Alonso in action in an attempt to train himself as a holding midfielder. The 22-year-old, who has been deployed in a more defensive role for England in his last few appearances, is seemingly taking inspiration from the Bayern Munich star, who has made a seamless transition since moving to the Bundesliga.
Wilshere is clearly taking his new position seriously, but is he setting himself realistic targets? Alonso, a multiple Champions League and European Championship winner, remains a cut above the rest, despite being in the twilight of his career. Can the Englishman ever attain the former Liverpool man's current standard?
The Spaniard is renowned for his passing ability, and it has not been a huge surprise seeing him break records since his arrival in Germany. Jack Wilshere has a very long way to go if he wishes to reach the 32-year-old's level in this department.
|Team||Total Pass / apps||Pass Accuracy||Total Att Assist / apps||Total Scoring Att / apps||Won Tackle / apps||Won Contest / apps||Aerial Won / apps||Interception Won / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Xabi Alonso||Bayern Munich||121.33||90.00||1.50||0.83||1.33||0.17||1.67||2.00||6||445|
Alonso averages almost three times as many passes per match, while boasting a far superior completion rate. The World Cup winner has also created twice as many scoring opportunities for his teammates, which is a surprise, considering Wilshere occupies the more advanced midfield position.
His ability to read the game is second-to-none, as he has proven with his early season form. Already he has averaged six times as many interceptions than Wilshere, while he has won more tackles and seen greater success in the air.
Wilshere, being the more sprightly central midfielder, has completed a greater number of dribbles, while attempting more shots at goal (six strikes to Alonso's five). The Englishman has one league goal to his name this term, as a result of his efforts.
Quite frankly, Wilshere is a long way off the current ability of Xabi Alonso, and if he wishes to one day play like the Spaniard he needs a lot of work on his ability to read the game. This will improve his ability to dictate play in both an attacking and defensive capacity; a skill Alonso has mastered throughout his career.