Arsenal: Jack Wilshere looks to Europe for help


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The Independent Football

Jack Wilshere feels matches like Tuesday’s Champions’ League clash with Borussia Dortmund are the best for developing his new role for England and said the Arsenal players want to win the trophy as a “present” to manager Arsène Wenger.

The 22-year-old played at the base of a diamond midfield in England’s 2-0 win over Switzerland on Monday and believes challenges like the trip to Dortmund – Arsenal’s third in four seasons – can aid him.

“In terms of helping you at international level, these are the best games,” said Wilshere, below. “You’re playing against teams and players from other countries. The Premier League is fantastic as well because there are players from all over the place, but the Premier League is different to Champions’ League games. Champions’ League games, there’s a bit more thinking time, it’s a bit more of a continental style. In the Premier League you have players flying up against you and in the Champions’ League you get more tactically smart teams that defend better as a team. So in terms of helping for international level, these are the games I can really learn from.”

Wilshere feels it is time for the Arsenal players to deliver Wenger’s first Champions’ League trophy, stating it is the trophy the manager wants above all. “For him, that would be the icing on the cake,” Wilshere said. “He has been [in the competition] 17 years and had one final [in 2006, losing 2-1 to Barcelona]. He came close to winning that, he was unlucky, he had [Jens] Lehmann sent off so I think this is the one he really, really wants, as well as the Premier League, because he wants it for us. But if he gives the Champions’ League to us it will also be like a present [from us] to him.”

To do that, Arsenal may need to finish top of their group. They have a habit of coming second and getting eliminated at the last-16 stage due to more difficult draws.

“Over the last few seasons we almost thought we were finishing top and we lost the last game and it has cost us,” said Wilshere. “But if you finish top you can get a tough game as well. Once you’re in the last 16, you’re not going to get an easy game. We have really been unlucky with the draw over the last few years, with Bayern Munich twice. They’re the best team in Europe for me.”