Much to the delight of Arsenal fans this past weekend, Jack Wilshere made his highly-anticipated return to the first team after missing the entire campaign to that point through injury.
The 24-year-old picked up a serious injury in pre-season last summer, thus forcing him to watch on from the sidelines as another frustrating season for the Gunners passed by.
Having initially returned to the fold with the Under-21s side, the England international was back with the senior squad at Sunderland and came on for the last 10 minutes as he now continues the process of earning his spot in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016 in France this summer.
The biggest factor against Wilshere is of course his lack of playing time this season, as he ultimately now has just three more games to prove both his fitness and form are where they need to be in order to feature for England.
Hodgson can ill-afford to be taking risks this summer, as he will want all of his options available in France with no concerns going into the tournament over whether or not he will be losing players along the way.
However, the 68-year-old has shown a great sense of loyalty to his players during his tenure to date, and that doesn’t show signs of abating as it is continuously suggested that he will give Wilshere as much time as possible to recover and prove he deserves his place.
There is simply no denying Wilshere’s talent, and as he displayed at the back end of last season for Arsenal as well as in England’s win away at Slovenia last June, he can make a decisive contribution for both club and country.
His problem continues to be the fact that he can’t steer clear of injuries, if he did, we could be looking at one of England’s best midfielders continuing his progress into one of the world’s best with many iconic figures in the game talking up his ability over the years.
This season has undoubtedly been a disruptive period and real setback for him, but over the course of the next three weeks he has the opportunity to build some momentum, take that into the summer which could in turn see him in full flight to begin next season.
From the most recent of Hodgson’s squad, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Eric Dier, Danny Drinkwater, Adam Lallana and James Milner will all likely be heading over the English Channel this summer.
For all his faults and frustrating injury setbacks, Wilshere still offers something different and that is why he can still be an influential presence in France. While he may not earn the right to walk straight back into the team as a starter, a fully fit and motivated Wilshere is a great weapon to have and the stage could be set for him to silence his doubters in France.