Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted that it is important Jack Wilshere is included in England’s squad for Euro 2016 this summer.
The 24-year-old has yet to feature for the Gunners this season after suffering a fractured ankle in pre-season last summer, but is nearing a return to action.
With just eight games remaining in the Premier League, Wilshere faces a race against time not only to prove his fitness, but also to show Roy Hodgson that he has recovered sufficiently to make his mark in France rather than merely just make up the numbers.
However, Wenger is under no doubt that the England midfielder should be present at the European Championship.
“You want your players to compete at the top level,” said Wenger, as reported by Sky Sports. “It is important for Wilshere to play in the Euros.”
“We have not decided [if Wilshere will feature for the U21s] yet,. It is his first week back in full training and we’ll see how he responds to that, but the first signs are quite good. We’ll assess our options next week.
“We will be cautious with him. He will be back to being fully competitive in about three weeks.”
Wenger added that he would welcome Wilshere’s inclusion in Hodgson’s squad for the summer, but it still remains to be seen whether or not he will make the final cut next month.
There is no denying the Arsenal ace’s talent, and he certainly adds a different dynamic to the England midfield that will give them a boost against the other top sides from around Europe.
However, England have impressed in qualifying and in certain friendlies without Wilshere, and with Hodgson needing to pick a competitive and healthy squad, he can’t afford to have players pick up issues and setbacks along the way in France.
Wilshere will effectively have five games to end the season based on Wenger’s timeline, and whether or not that is enough time to convince Hodgson remains to be seen.