Jack Wilshere must improve says Bryan Robson
Arsenal midfielder put in a man-of-the-match performance against Brazil
Thursday 07 February 2013
Bryan Robson has warned Jack Wilshere he still has work to do if he is to lead England's youth brigade at next summer's World Cup.
Arsenal midfielder Wilshere was outstanding in last night's victory over Brazil, deservedly scooping the man-of-the-match prize as England recorded their first win over the South Americans in 23 years.
As a veteran of 90 internationals, 65 as skipper - a figure exceeded only by Bobby Moore and Billy Wright - Robson is acutely aware of the dangers lurking in heaping such high praise on Wilshere.
And speaking at a Subbuteo event at Wembley on behalf of Absolute Radio and official England supporter Mars, Robson has told Wilshere there are still areas of his game that require more work.
"Jack still has a bit to prove," said Robson.
"He has good ability, works really hard for the team and has that little bit of aggression which he wants to win. That all comes out in his game.
"But I look at him and think what kind of player does Jack want to be? Is he going to be an offensive player? If he is, he needs to score more goals.
"If he is going to be defensive, he has to work that little bit harder on the defensive side of his game."
Yet Robson concedes Wilshere could have no better example to learn from than skipper Steven Gerrard, whose understated contribution last night went largely unnoticed amid the excellent performances of Wilshere and Theo Walcott and the goals of Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.
"Steven Gerrard has offensive and defensive qualities," said Robson.
"When required, he can attack, he can score goals, alternatively he can sit in front of the back four, defend and do a great passing job.
"That is what Jack has to try and achieve.
"The positive thing is that his attitude looks good. It seems like he wants to learn and, when you have weaknesses, that is what you need to become a better player."
Robson had been given a different kind of test ahead of the Brazil game when he took on award-winning DJ Christian O'Connell in a game of Subbuteo.
The former Manchester United midfielder won 1-0, although he admitted it was not a game of high-class entertainment.
"When I was much younger I had a set and used to play with my sister or my dad, but I found it easier to play the real thing," he said.
The chances are England will not find it as easy to beat Brazil in June, when they head to the famous Maracana Stadium for the rematch.
But the real challenge will come 12 months after that, when they need to make the step up from being a decent tournament team to one capable of challenging for major honours.
"For England, the difference between being at a World Cup and competing for it is how many of the young lads can actually make the step up to the highest level," Robson said.
"We have Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney, who isn't that old but has so much experience, but you can't expect those lads to do it on their own.
"(Manager) Roy Hodgson has given a chance to quite a few young lads; Wilshere, Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. Gary Cahill has put himself in there.
"When you go further forward, can Daniel Sturridge come through, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott?
"These young lads have to take the next step.
"We all know they are decent players in the Premier League and it is okay breaking into the England squad. But can you be outstanding at the highest level?
"If three or four of them can become really good international players, that will help us hugely at the World Cup."
:: Bryan Robson joined Absolute Radio's Christian O'Connell at Wembley Stadium for a dream game of Subbuteo, helping the DJ complete a bucket list before he turns 40. Robson was representing Mars Bar - Official Supporter of The FA and the England Team. Watch the match at http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk.
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