Glenn Hoddle has urged Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to copy England counterpart Roy Hodgson and play Arsenal star Jack Wilshere as a deep-lying midfielder, the Daily Mail reports.
The England international midfielder has spent the majority of the campaign sidelined with injury after suffering ankle ligament damage in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in November.
His spell on the sidelines has conversely coincided with the Gunners’ best run of form of the season, with Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla striking up an excellent midfield relationship.
Aside from his injury woes, Wilshere’s underlying problem in an Arsenal shirt stems from the fact he doesn’t have a specific position to count on, unlike his role on international duty.
As such, Hoddle has urged Wenger to keep hold of the talented 23-year-old and look to utilise him in a similar way to England boss Roy Hodgson – as a deep-lying midfielder.
“Jack Wilshere impressed playing slightly deeper in midfield for England earlier in the season and it’s likely we’ll see him play that role for them again in their fixtures this June,” he explained.
“They’ve been filling that role with Santi Cazorla, who has had a superb season and is beautiful passer. But you feel that, against the best clubs, they might need someone a bit more physical. Wilshere can do that job and needs to convince Wenger to allow him to do it.”
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As a deep-lying midfielder, Wilshere’s job would be to apply a physical presence in the middle while also instigating attacks from deep, a role Santi Cazorla performs excellently, as per the table by Opta Stats.
The Spanish star is currently performing at the highest level, especially from a defensive perspective, illustrated by the average number of tackles, ball recoveries and duel winners per match.
Wilshere may have a slightly bigger presence about him, but his ability to protect his defence is questionable and even more so in the Gunners’ expansive style of play.
He has a long way to go before reclaiming a regular first-team spot in North London, and if he wasn’t an academy product his future at the club would probably be in more doubt than it currently is.