Arsenal star Jack Wilshere is being remodeled into a defensive midfielder.
The 22-year-old has been deployed as the anchorman-in-midfield by England coach Roy Hodgson, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is being urged to do the same.
Wilshere himself is willing to change his position and embrace the role of a defensive midfielder.
“The main thought behind analysing players [like Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta] was to try and improve in the deeper role I play for England,” Arsenal’s official website quotes him as saying.
“So I’m watching the best the best players in the world in that position and trying to pick up things from them.”
Barcelona star Andres Iniesta is not a defensive midfielder, but Wilshere could learn a lot from watching Xabi Alonso.
The former Liverpool star, who is now at German champions Bayern Munich, is one of the best deep-lying midfielders in the world and has achieved huge success over the years.
Even at the age of 32, Alonso is at the top of his game.
What’s his secret?
“With the years you try to run less, to think more, and try to be involved in the best way possible, to be a link between the defence and the attack - right or left,” the former Real Sociedad star told the Champions Magazine. “With the years you try to have more composure, to read the game and have a better understanding.”
Wilshere is 22 years of age and is only just learning how to play in defensive midfield, but he should heed the advice of Alonso.
The Arsenal midfielder has an instinct to march forward with the ball, but he needs to control that and make sure that he does not leave space behind.
There is no doubt about Wilshere’s natural ability as a footballer, but it remains to be seen how he matures into that role and how he responds tactically.