Roy Hodgson has a dilemma on his hands, Danny Drinkwater or Jack Wilshere? Who should go to France?
Jack Wilshere hasn’t kicked a ball all season, while Danny Drinkwater has been the heartbeat of Leicester City this season and is in with a great chance of winning the title. Surely an easy decision then?
While Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have stolen the headlines for their goals and assists, Drinkwater has not received the praise he deserves, players that do the job he does rarely do. It is only when one witnesses a player live, playing the role he does, that one can truly appreciate his importance to the team. When he is not there the team miss him.
Jack Wilshere is a quality player and if fit all season he would be a certainty not only on the plane to France but one of the first names on the team sheet.
But the fact remains that Wilshere has not kicked a ball all season and he owes the Arsenal fans. He should in effect rule himself out of Euro 2016. He has missed over 150 games for Arsenal since 2009. While we can all see his talent on the rare occasion he can stay fit long enough for us to see it, it would be a travesty if Drinkwater missed out on a deserved call up to someone who is going on past form and has done little to earn his place on the plane during the season.
Wilshere needs to get back to the player that we all know he can be. He owes Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans for the trust and patience they continue to place in him, but there comes a time when enough is enough. He is playing for his Arsenal future when he returns.
Wilshere should use the summer to return to full fitness, get a good pre-season under his belt and be ready for England as the qualifiers for the World Cup in 2018 get underway later this year.
At 24 years of age Wilshere has wasted so much of his career through injury. While he cannot be blamed for this he should take full control of his return to fitness by withdrawing from a possible selection this summer and focus on being a key player for his club, rather than his country.
England should learn from gambles they made on players returning from injury in the past. Wayne Rooney and his metatarsal come to mind. England too could have the injury prone Daniel Sturridge in their squad but he has returned to fitness with the signs so far that he has left the injury behind him.
With Arsenal out of all competitions and just the remaining eight Premier League games to play, Wilshere will have limited opportunity to show what he can do and that his injury is behind him. No date for his return has yet been pencilled in.
While Hodgson’s loyalty to Wilshere is admiral, he has a squad to pick and a duty to the English fans, where those playing at the highest level to the best of their ability should be on that plane, making Drinkwater’s inclusion a no-brainer.
Wilshere’s time will come again.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena