Forget about new £30m superstars coming through the doors at Arsenal. By far and away the most important bit of business that Arsenal have done in the last decade was getting Jack Wilshere to put pen to paper on a new deal on 19 December 2012.
Wilshere must have been particularly offended by Neymar’s pre-match assertion that only Wayne Rooney could cause problems on the world stage. Because, from the first whistle, he was carrying the fight to Brazil with footwork that disarmed and alarmed the opposition in equal measure.
Opposing teams just aren’t accustomed to seeing England players dribble. Not since Paul Gascoigne has there been an Englishman with the skill and guts to do it against the top sides. If Brazil didn’t know about Wilshere before the game, then he will certainly be the name on all of their lips today.
But it’s not just his dribbling skill that sets him apart. Wilshere really does have the lot. He’s the best passer in the team along with Rooney. He’s got a wicked shot on him. He can head the ball and he has a superb motor to complement his natural pace. He’s not a player who gives you a sublime touch every 30 minutes then goes missing. He mixes the sublime with an inordinate work rate and desire to be central to everything. One hopes that he will maintain a sense of fearlessness through his career because it’s such a source of positive inspiration for this new England team. He brings the best out of those around him.
Big players have left Arsenal in the last few years, leading many to question the size of the club and whether it can still compete on the world stage. Robin van Persie, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas have all moved on. But none of these players are as important to Arsenal as Jack Wilshere. Nor are any of them as good as Wilshere. Everybody will want to play with this lad. He can single-handedly make Arsenal the cream of the crop once more if he stays with the club that he loves.
Arsenal fans may be frustrated by events of the last five or six years at The Emirates. But they should at least console themselves with the fact that they have one of the current and future stars of world football – an almost certain Ballon D’or winner when Lionel Messi finally decides to share.
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