Fabio Capello Earmarks Arsenal Star Jack Wilshere For England Starting Spot

Jack Wilshere could be a major player for England.

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England’s manager has been searching for the right candidate for the so-called “Makelele” role, allowing Steven Gerrard to push on.

Gareth Barry struggled in the anchor position while Owen Hargreaves, the most naturally suited, seems permanently lost to injury.

“Hargreaves played this position very, very well every game,” said Capello. “But after the knee problem, he was never back.

“I put different players in there but they’d never played in this position. Barry with Aston Villa never played this position. He started to play there only with me [and now with Manchester City]. But I saw Wilshere play every game in this position.”

Almost. Wilshere plays a slightly different game with Arsenal as Alex Song operates as the deepest lying. Capello sees Wilshere as much as an upmarket distribution point as ball-winner.

“Wilshere is better technically than Makelele. He’s slower than Makelele but when he receives the ball he is more dangerous than Makelele.”

“Not like Pirlo. Wilshere’s too young.” Capello paused. The difference, he argued, was not in the quality but in the approach of their clubs.

“Probably Wilshere can be better but the styles are different. The style of AC Milan was to play long ball sometimes. The style of Arsenal is a lot of passes.

“Wilshere wins back the ball, he passes, he turns, dribbles, goes and shoots. I saw everything. The style of Arsenal is touch, touch, touch, touch. Like Barcelona.

“Wilshere is the best young player. He now plays all the time with Arsenal. If you play with Arsenal, you are a really good player because Arsène Wenger likes good players.

“I want to put him in this position in front of the back four. I have to decide because he’s so young, he would stay alone in midfield and that can be dangerous.

“I think he’s mature enough to play this role. He’s a really interesting player. When he started, in some moments he played without big confidence. He was timid, shy. Now every game he improves a lot, he plays with confidence, without fear and he tackles to win.”

SOURCE: Daily Telegraph

It is of course pleasing to read that England manager Fabio Capello recognises the prodigious talent of Jack Wilshere – but it seems plain to see he is no Claude Makelele.

Makelele made his name by being the best reader of the game in deep lying midfield; always in the right place to make interceptions and tackles.

When he got the ball, he looked for the easy pass to a team-mate.

Makelele wasn’t a creator, and relied on other players to perform that role, but Wilshere possesses a different skill set.

The Arsenal teenager can dribble past opponents, and has a vision lacking in most English players.

He is not a spoiler who thrives on breaking up opposition attacks, and though he plays alongside Alexander Song in a double pivot of the Arsenal midfield, rarely do they go into a game looking to contain opposition.

Wilshere and Song both look to break forward for the Gunners, but should he play in that area for England he will be expected to maintain position with far more discipline.

Has Capello seen something in Jack Wilshere that could help him realise his true potential as a great holding midfielder, or is he merely stifling the talent of an exciting prospect?

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