Manchester United legend and probably the best central midfielder England have ever had Paul Scholes wasn’t sure about the progress of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere few months’ back. Back in March, Scholes was being critical about Arsenal’s midfield and Wilshere in particular.
“Jack Wilshere, he came on the scene and what a top player he looked, but he’s never really gone on. He needs people like [Patrick] Vieira to take him to the next level. His development, he doesn’t look any better now than he did at 17,” he said back then.
To a certain extent Scholes was right. Whenever we talk about Wilshere, his performance against Barcelona springs to mind. If we trace back at his short career, we will see, he has maintained a certain level of consistency in his performances, but there hasn’t been any significant development since his break through season at Arsenal in 2010/11.
His passing accuracy has been around 86% (stats courtesy – whoscored.com) in all the past four seasons (missed the entire campaign in 2011/12 through injury). His tackles per game in the last two seasons have been at an average of 1.3, while his dribbles per game and key passes per games had dropped considerably in the past two seasons.
Suddenly, he is no more the ‘next big thing’ rather just another typical English player, who started off with a bang and fell victim of his own hype. Wilshere needed to a prove a point or two.
This season it seems like he has rediscovered his old form. He has been brilliant for Arsenal while has produced some good performances for England as well. This has prompted Scholes to change his opinion, as he says ‘at the moment he is England’s best player’.
“I think the penny has dropped and he has added another dimension to his game. He has always been capable of intricate passing. Now he can play the ball long, too. The quality of some of those passes into Wayne Rooney in Estonia was high,” he wrote in his Independent column.
Wilshere’s passing accuracy has dropped a bit to 83%, probably due to his new role. He is asked to play in a more advanced position in a 4-1-4-1 system, and instead of the doing midfield job, he is encouraged to move forward and take on the defenders. His dribbles per game has increased to 2.8 per games from 1.9 the previous season.
It seems like Wilshere is starting to fulfil his tremendous potential everyone talked about. The only problem is his injury that restricts him from playing more and more games. Having suffered a serious injury early in his career, he is now susceptible to small injuries every now and then which hampers his development.