Jack Wilshere has admitted he has no plans to change his style of play in the future, even if it would mean spending less time on the treatment table.
Arsenal’s ‘golden-boy’ made his first return appearance of the season last weekend, immediately energising an otherwise lacklustre midfield display. After recovering from his latest injury – a fractured ankle – Wilshere is hoping to accumulate enough playing time in the remaining three games of the Premier League campaign to earn himself a spot in Roy Hodgson’s European Championship squad.
At the peak of his powers, Wilshere is renown for driving forward in possession, challenging defenders with his dribbling skills.
Whilst this approach has the potential to unlock defences and lead to goalscoring opportunities, Wilshere’s style, whilst effective, often provokes defenders to commit to stretching tackles – leading to several long-term injury layoffs in his career.
Wilshere insists that the onus isn’t on him to change the way he plays, speaking to the Arsenal website he remarked:
“I don’t think there is anything I can do differently,”
“All my injuries have been impact injuries and I have been a little bit unfortunate at times when I have maybe overrun the ball a little bit, so maybe I can work on dribbling with the ball closer to my foot.”
The midfielder has often been urged by pundits and coaching staff to release the ball earlier in order to stop defenders from lunging in with dangerous tackles, but Wilshere is yet to take heed of this advice in action. The Euro hopeful confessed he tried doing so at times, but that it contradicts his natural instincts on the pitch:
“I’m not one of those players who is blessed with Theo Walcott’s pace who can run behind you.
“When I’m on the ball, I have to get close to [the defender], which is going to cause him to attempt to tackle me or mistime it as we have seen in the past. That is part of my game.”
Whilst there is obviously a huge gap in the respective achievements of the two players, many pundits draw comparisons in style between Jack Wilshere and Lionel Messi.
Messi, similarly to Wilshere, thrives in challenging defenders with his dribbling skills – refusing to release the ball until he has drawn a challenge, making space for his teammates.
Yet, the Barcelona superstar’s has spent far less time on the sidelines as a result of impact injuries, arguably due to the less physical nature of defending in La Liga.
Wilshere should not be discouraged to carry possession – there is certainly logic in the Arsenal midfielder’s statements – suggesting that his injuries are more a result of clumsy defending than through any fault of his own.