Jack Wilshere ambitious for Olympic gold

 

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The Independent Football

The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has raised the intriguing prospect that he would like to play for Great Britain in next year's London Olympics, which would come hard on the heels of Euro 2012 – in which the 19-year-old is certain to be picked if fit.

Wilshere has already caused friction between the Football Association and the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, by insisting that he will represent the England Under-21s at the European Championship in Denmark in June. The Olympic tournament is primarily an Under-23 competition, for which Wilshere would be eligible, and there is some overlap with Euro 2012 in terms of preparation.

Asked whether he would like to play for Britain, Wilshere said: "The Olympics are going to be massive in London. It will be brilliant. It would be a dream to play in the Olympics."

The FA, which is responsible for the Olympic team, has a policy that no player should play in two summer tournaments. However, this time next year, with anticipation building, there is likely to be a public appetite for Team GB to field a strong football team.

Asked whether he felt tired, Wilshere said: "To be honest, at the minute, no. We are playing Sunday, Sunday now. We are out of the Champions League so we have enough time to recover. Obviously, burnout might be an issue. But the manager at Arsenal will give me the right time off and if I am selected I would never say no to my country.

"It is an honour to play at any level [for England] and I have played since the Under-16s so it is an honour. We all feel we have a great chance of winning it [the Under-21s European Championship]."

Alex Horne, the FA general secretary, said: "We would have a conversation with Arsène and Jack, to see if it was feasible. It means the player will get no summer holiday – depending on how long we are in Poland and Ukraine for [at Euro 2012]. It's tough. It's how Arsenal feel about it as they are the employer and as an athlete you have got to take a rest."



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