Jack Wilshere admits he is fulfilling a childhood dream after being selected in England’s 23-man squad for the World Cup.
The Arsenal midfielder’s place in Roy Hodgson’s squad looked under threat at one stage after he sustained a hairline fracture in his left foot.
But after a successful rehabilitation period, the 22-year-old is fit and determined to make a big impact this summer.
It's every kid’s dream to represent their country at a World CupJack Wilshere
“As a kid that's what you remember: France 98, 2002, I remember all the World Cups,” Wilshere said.
“I remember Michael Owen's goal and Beckham getting sent off when we lost on penalties against Argentina [in 1998]. You do watch every single game of the World Cup but the ones I remember are the England games
“It's every kid’s dream to represent their country at a World Cup. But it doesn't happen for everyone so to be in the 23 is massive, not just for me but for my whole family.”
Hodgson has named a youthful squad for the World Cup, and Wilshere believes that could prove an advantage.
“I think it's a nice feeling to be part of that,” he said. “Ashley Cole said it's time for the youngsters as well. You've seen other countries do it in the past. You've seen Germany, they look really strong.
“There's young players, before we talk about inexperienced, who have played a full season in the Premier League. They’re not that inexperienced. They have learnt at the top level and proved themselves at the top level.
“The togetherness is important as well. We're all young and a lot of us have played together at under-21 level. We get on well. The younger players will stick together.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source