Jack Wilshere's fall at Arsenal may be Roy Hodgson's gain for England

 

Jack Wilshere's descent down the Arsenal pecking order since the arrival of Mesut Özil and renaissance of Aaron Ramsey could be a blessing in disguise for England. That is the view of Roy Hodgson, and while it is an unofficial part of the job spec for England managers to see a silver lining in every cloud, there is sense in his outlook.

Wilshere has not had the best of week's after being caught smoking, but he had already been shunted to the left flank following £42m Özil's purchase and was dropped to the bench for last week's Champions' League tie with Napoli. And this is before Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain return to fitness.

Wilshere had a poor match for England in Ukraine last month, but is expected to be in the team against Montenegro at Wembley on Friday and play a major role for England should they reach the World Cup in Brazil.

Wilshere has, however, a history of injuries, especially to his ankles, sometimes aggravated through over-playing. When it was put to Hodgson that he could be in better shape for England come June if he is not expected to play every match for Arsenal, the manager responded: "That's a good point, he missed a lot of football over that year–and-a-half then he had to have another operation. For a young man he's had an awful lot of serious injury problems and it may well be right [that playing less may be beneficial]."

In 2010-11, Wilshere's first season as an Arsenal regular, he played in 54 games for club and country. Still a teenager, he was, manager Arsène Wenger said, "in the red zone" by the end. He then suffered a stress fracture and missed all the following season before returning last October. He managed another 35 games in the remaining 29 weeks of the season despite further ankle problems that forced another operation during the summer.

"In the past," added Hodgson, "it's possible that everyone believed in him so strongly, not only England but Arsenal, you could argue he had to play a lot of games, but Arsène manages that very well and that will help England to some extent."

For all Wilshere's long-term importance, Hodgson believes it is his senior players who will be key against Montenegro on Friday and Poland next Tuesday. England need to win both to be certain of reaching the World Cup finals.

"I make no bones that this is a game for the experienced players who are capable of accepting that responsibility," he said. "That doesn't mean to say that the younger players we've got couldn't make an appearance, but they're not the ones who should be asked to take responsibility for the result. That is going to be on my shoulders and the experienced players."

That responsibility, Hodgson added, "does weigh on players" but he noted it will weigh on the players of England's rivals too. Come the night he is confident they will handle it, and do so with a steely quietness. There was a time when Terry Butcher of Tony Adams would be thumping the walls and rousing team-mates, but not now, and Hodgson did not have a problem with that.

" I don't think players appreciate Churchillian speeches these days," he said. "We're talking about players who play Champions' League finals, matches in front of 60,000 every week. Every time they step on the pitch there's a lot of responsibility for them. Tub-thumping is not necessary. Players have their own way of preparing. There's a concentration in that dressing room and a determination to do the job properly.

"Sometimes I think the screamers and the shouters... I wonder who they're shouting for? The desire has got to come from within you, and you have to know you can do it."England players, Hodgson believes, have the desire and the skill. Now they need to show they have the nerve

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick