First Touch

Jack Wilshere Is Back In The Headlines

Like an immature schoolboy steadfastly refusing to learn his maths assignment, Jack Wilshere, Jack the lad once again refuses to stay out of the limelight.

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By Matty Lawrence

Jack The Lad

Every one of us makes mistakes and we all appreciate the fallibility of youth: we all learn to forgive, forget and apologise…the first time.

The second time we make the same mistake, we grit our teeth, hope our apologies are accepted, look ourselves in the mirror and promise it will never happen again. I’m talking about when we were teenagers, here. How many chances does any one individual expect to get? Jack Wilshere is now 24 years of age: he is also a father. I fear the penny will never drop.

Jack Wilshire

Wilshere was plastered all over the front pages of the English tabloids recently after heading out into the London night and getting into scrapes that saw him getting ejected from a club and having an allegation of assault levelled at him.

And this all happened while he is trying to regain fitness and break back into Arsenal’s team. Hardly the model of professionalism. Without trying to cause too much North London consternation, maybe a glance to nearby neighbours Spurs, and a certain Harry Kane, may be in order here.

Of course, I’m willing to play devil’s advocate for a short while and give the man (boy) a break. Wilshere has suffered incredible heartache in the fight for an extended run of fitness. There is surely no denying that. Let him enjoy a quiet period of relaxation and contemplation with his mates over a pint, or two (I can’t believe there any dissenters so far).

Surely it is just a question of using the thing between your ears? But why on earth would you choose to sup that quiet pint in the bloody Café de Paris, in the West End of London, in full view of every camera-phone coveting, amateur paparazzi wannabe in the afore-mentioned establishment? It beggars belief.

Maybe the suggestion by his ‘mates’ went something like this..

“I tell you what, Jack, We know that you are nearing full fitness and the end-goal is on the horizon. We appreciate that you have spent the last 18 months battling injury and are desperate for a first team start with Arsenal.

We understand that your name is on the lips of nigh-on every England supporter, not to mention the actual guy who picks the team, who thinks that you are the one guy who can unlock defences, score goals and hopefully bring home the first trophy since well before you were born, mate. But never mind all that. Bollocks to a couple of pints in our local in Essex: let’s hit a gaudy West End establishment and tear it up in full view of the watching masses.”

And his answer was, “yes, lads, I’m bang up for it. Can’t imagine it will hinder my Arsenal chances, and Wenger is bound to be fully supportive of my antics. Again.” Probably.

In the big scheme of things was Jack Wilshere’s offence really that bad? As a single, solitary mistake it was just one small star in a sprawling galaxy. But put into context along with Wilshere’s numerous other misdemeanours and, ultimately, the horrendous timing of this night out, and you have to question Jack’s desire to fulfil his potential.

Of course he’ll pay us all the lip service of his unerring desire to return to the lush Emirates turf, but his actions ring out far louder than so many hollow words that have gone before and will, inevitably, cascade from his lips, or the keyboard of his latest agent in the future.

A simple maths test can establish whether a school kid has learnt their geometry. Jack Wilshere has failed miserably when it comes to his test of staying off the front pages. And he’s done it under the disapproving glare of the watching public and his paymasters at Arsenal FC.

One thing we do know is that the boy possesses a talent so great that many people would lop their left bollock off for it. Who can forget Wilshere gracing the turf of Camp Nou as a precocious 19 year-old?

Up against the majesty of Barcelona in their pomp with the likes of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta in their heyday, all eyes were on Wilshere. His performance that night in 2011 had Arsene Wenger, Arsenal fans and England fans alike absolutely purring with pleasure. Wenger had been scouring the earth for a ball-playing midfielder, and all along this mercurial talent was lurking just a decent 7-iron stroke away from their training ground. Okay, one helluva 7-iron, but forgive the poetic license.

The comparisons after that performance  in Spain sprung forth at quite a rate of knots, but the only worthy English names from the past couple of decades were Gascoigne and Scholes. Yes, he was that bloody good.

Five years later and that game is a distant memory. In fact, any memory of Wilshere gracing any pitch is a rusty one. I’m guessing that any Arsenal fan (or England fan for that matter), has been secretly worried for Jack Wilshere for some years now.

Question upon question continue to rear their ugly heads:

Are Jack Wilshire’s advisers really looking out for his career, or is it just a matter of callous economics?

Should his family focus on parenting and leave management to the professionals?

Can Jack every truly recover from his injury nightmares?

And, ultimately, can Jack Wilshere master his life?

That last one is a question that Arsene Wenger has put into the public domain on more than one occasion. Presently, the answer is no.

We all want Jack Wilshere to master his metaphorical homework and shove our dissenting words down our throats. Will we see more comparisons with Messrs. Scholes and Gascoigne, before the inevitable comparisons with Ravel Morrison and wasted talent flow from the keyboards of many a journalist?

Only time and Jack Wilshere can provide that answer.

Ian danter and matty lawrenceMatty has a new podcast with Ian Danter (left) on Talk 2 Me Radio.

You can find it here

or on iTunes by searching ‘Football Men on Talk2Me Radio’

The boys bring you three blasts of Football per week. Monday it’s a review of the weekends Premier League, Football League and Cup action. Wednesdays they tackle a big debate in their Pubcast. Fridays it’s ‘Football Rocks’ where someone from the world of entertainment talks about the beautiful game. Past guests include Mike Joyce from the Smiths, and Felix White of the Maccabees.

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