Graham Taylor 'surprised' by Fabio Capello approach to Jack Wilshere

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The Independent Football

Former England manager Graham Taylor admits he is "surprised" by Fabio Capello's handling of Jack Wilshere ahead of the Arsenal teenager's full debut against Denmark tonight.

Capello said the youngster possesses "the same talent" as the players he rates as the best he has managed in his career - AC Milan defenders Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi and Real Madrid forward Raul - and also likened him to Andrea Pirlo.

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, a club-mate of Wilshere, has since urged England not to put too much pressure on him the way he feels they did with another Gunners youngster, Theo Walcott.

And Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The big surprise to me is how much Wilshere has been praised by Fabio Capello, how flowing in praise he's been of one player before he's actually played one full game. I just hope Wilshere does have a good game tonight.

"He's a good player, there's no doubt about that, from all accounts he handles all situations very well. But at international level, we have a record of players who don't produce it at international level, that's been one of our problems.

"Let's give him a few games and then lets get talking about him instead of building him up into such a player before he's completed one international game.

Wilshere is set to be deployed in a deeper-lying role than that he regularly occupies for the North London club, allowing stand-in captain Frank Lampard to express himself in advanced areas.

But Taylor continued: "Alongside Frank Lampard, it might be the old thing that I think is quite easy - he can go forward as well, Wilshere, and when one goes forward other stays back. It's never really seemed that problematic to me, if your partner goes forward you just hold.

"We have this thing about the holding midfield player - I think if there's the opportunity to get forward Wilshere will go forward as well."

Capello will leave his post after next summer's European Championships but pressure has mounted on him in the wake of last year's desperate World Cup campaign.

It shows no signs of abating as England prepare to play the Danes but Royal Shakespeare Society member Taylor made light of the situation, quipping: "If, at the end of the day, Wilshere doesn't play well - alas poor Fabio, we knew you well."