Three Lions playmaker turned in a below-par display at the Olympic stadium.
England midfield player Jack Wilshere has revealed that Tuesday night’s FIFA World Cup Group H qualifier with rivals Ukraine in Kiev was the hardest match that he had ever had to play in football, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.
The hugely talented playmaker started in a three-man midfield alongside skipper Steven Gerrard and veteran Chelsea star Frank Lampard in the 60,000-capacity Olympic stadium in the Ukrainian capital, with Roy Hodgson’s side earning a hard-fought goalless draw that left the visitors still leading their group after the full-time whistle.
And now with just two qualifiers left to play on the road to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, against second-placed Montenegro and fourth-in-the-table Poland, both at Wembley Stadium next month, Wilshere and co know that two wins from those remaining fixtures will see them qualify automatically as group winners for the tournament in South America in 2014.
However, despite the well-earned point in Ukraine, the Arsenal star has admitted that he struggled to keep up with the pace of the game at times in Kiev, with the 21-year-old still felling his way back to full fitness after a recent 17-month layoff with an ankle injury.
“I think it was my hardest game. It was a difficult place to come and sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce for you,” said Wilshere.
“It was definitely my biggest international game, my first big one away so it was a hostile atmosphere. It was a strange game. But it was good for me.
“It was a good experience and I had a lot of experienced players around me and they helped me. It always helps when you have that experience in your team.
“You just can’t give it to anyone. It comes over time and it will for me. They have been there and done it and that showed.”