I wouldn’t get too carried away with Jack Wilshere’s England performance last weekend.
Sure he played well against the might of Slovenia and his two goals were brilliantly taken, but he’s made a career out of promising much and delivering little.
Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest-ever Premier League player when making his club debut aged 16.
But that was seven years ago and he’s only just past 100 starts for his club.
And he’s scored a mere 12 goals which might explain the shock and excitement of him scoring twice in a game for England. His first two goals for his country by the way, on his 28th appearance.
But it’s the way we do things in England. Play well once against mediocre opposition and a media frenzy will start.
Michael Carrick was hailed as an English midfield great after passing the ball over short distances really accurately in a meaningless friendly against Italy earlier this year.
You don’t hear so much about him now and given Wilshere’s injury record and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to pick him for the big games, it’s probably best not to get too excited about him either.
It’s not as though Wilshere can be guaranteed to look after his brittle body in the summer. It wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see film emerge this summer of him drunkenly abusing some Spurs fans with a fag hanging from his mouth.
England were entertaining as a team though in Slovenia, although the jury should still be out on whether or not the penny has dropped with manager Roy Hodgson.
It’s easy to be gung-ho (or at least it should be) when qualification is guaranteed by the friendliest of group draws.
I would still expect Hodgson to revert to type (i.e bore the pants off us) when faced with actual tournament football. Hodgson should take his cue from England’s cricket team. They are not going to win anything this summer, but their fans have been so impressed with the removal of shackles (aka Alistair Cook) and the introduction of enterprise and exciting cricket they’ve embraced and supported a losing side.
All us fans want (realistically as winning a trophy is sadly impossible) is for England to go out fighting, in a blaze of glory, rather than lose miserably as we did in the last World Cup.
To achieve this Hodgson needs to make a mercy killing on Phil Jones’ England career and to make Raheem Sterling attend shooting practice.
Sterling couldn’t have looked anything less like a £50 million footballer in recent months and if Manchester City really do offer that fee for him, Liverpool would be mad not to accept.
Actually scratch that. Imagine how many Andy Carrolls, Mario Balotellis and Ricky Lamberts the idiots in charge of Liverpool’s transfer committee could purchase with £50 million. That alone should be enough to keep Sterling at Anfield.