Jack Wilshere can still make an England impact, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger insists Jack Wilshere is still playing for his Arsenal future despite claiming the midfielder is ready to return to England duty.
While the Gunners boss feels Wilshere should be handed a recall, it is understood he will not be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
Southgate will name the players who have made the cut on Thursday, with Wenger revealing he had spoken to the England boss about Wilshere in recent days.
The 25-year-old has not appeared in a Three Lions squad in a year and he last played for England when he came on as a substitute in the shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016.
He was named in a Southgate squad last November while on loan at Bournemouth but did not feature against either Scotland or Spain.
There was talk of a recall as Wilshere has impressing in his Europa League outings for Arsenal, having been able to keep fit following a torrid couple of years with injuries, but it is believed he will miss out – with Tottenham’s Harry Winks retaining his place.
Wilshere’s Arsenal contract expires at the end of the season and, having played just 13 minutes of Premier League football, Wenger still wants to see more before potentially opening discussions over a new deal next month.
“I said many times that would be decided in December,” he said when asked about Wilshere’s contract.
“I wanted to give him six months not to think about that and see where we go. He was determined and ready to be in the dark at the start and work hard.
“Now he feels as well – and nobody knows better than you do yourself – that he has found that little bit of sharpness that is decided in the first two yards.”
While Wilshere is battling against Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez for a place in Arsenal’s Premier League side, Wenger feels he can do a job for England.
Asked if he had discussed Wilshere’s England prospects with Southgate, Wenger replied: “Yes, I spoke to him about Jack before the Swansea game.
“I don’t know if he will be called up. He just asked me how he is and I said no restrictions. He’s in a very good way.
“Personally, I think he’s ready. He was not three weeks ago but he is today. He’s ready. I have the same problem. He’s competitive. In every single competition, he’s ready to play. I would encourage him to do it.
“I can only repeat what I personally think: I don’t know how you can keep a super-fit Jack out of the England squad. I manage him like every single player. Since three weeks, he is treated like any other player.”
Wilshere has had to use his opportunities in the Europa League to make an impact and is likely to once again start when Arsenal host Red Star Belgrade on Thursday knowing victory will secure qualification into the round of 32.