Xabi Alonso backs Jack Wilshere to be a success in holding midfield - and tells him exactly how he can do it

Jack Wilshere Press Conference - 18/02/2014

The Liverpool icon sees no reason why the Arsenal midfielder cannot flourish in a more defensive role.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has backed Arsenal's Jack Wilshere to succeed in a holding role.

The Gunners man has been playing as a defensive midfielder for Roy Hodgson's England side and recently admitted he had been watching videos of Alonso for inspiration.

And the ex-Liverpool playmaker feels there is no reason why the Arsenal midfielder cannot become adept in a more defensive position.

"Why not? Before there was Michael Carrick. He had the game intelligence. If you had combined him with other players, maybe he would have been an important figure in midfield," Alonso told Jamie Carragher during an interview for the Daily Mail when asked if Wilshere can make it as a holding midfielder.

"You need someone who thinks, 'What is best: attack? Defence?' You have to know when to take two or three steps to make space, then you will be able to pass to someone between the lines.

"Players don't have to move. Pep says this always to Mario Gotze (jumps up and starts pointing). 'You! Don't run! Stay there! The ball will come to you. Don't move!' He shows clips to the team of Gotze standing still for 10 seconds.

"Pep works so much about the positional game. It is not about running everywhere. It is about you staying there and the others have to work to get it to you."

Arsenal host Manchester United later today, while Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace tomorrow afternoon.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch