By Richard Clarke

Despite the difficulties that followed Theo Walcott’s call-up in 2006, Arsène Wenger would be happy to recommend Jack Wilshere to Fabio Capello for inclusion in the squad for South Africa in 2010.

The 16-year-old continued to develop his burgeoning reputation with a sparkling performance against Wigan in the Carling Cup this week.  Already this season Wilshere has become Arsenal’s youngest ever League player and one of their youngest scorers. If he continues at this rate, it is just possible he could make it into the England squad in two years time.

Walcott was famously selected into Sven Goran Eriksson’s squad for Germany without having represented Arsenal. At the time it placed extra pressure on his young shoulders however he has emerged to become one of the brightest young talents in the country.

Perhaps that is why Wenger would be happy enough for Wilshere to go through the same process.

“In 2010 Jack will be 18,” said the manager. “[In 2006] Theo was 17 and had never played a single Premier League game also he had not grown like Wilshere has now.

“Before then Wilshere will come in and out of the team, he'll play in the Champions League and the Premier League. We have to assess the situation in two years. I don't see why not but then the pressure is there straight away. So let him develop and play. When he is ready, he will play.”

Before then Wilshere may be fast-tracked into the traditional feeder team for future England internationals.

“I believe the FA have decided the first step for him is to move him up to the Under-21s and see how he deals with that,” he said. “I don't know if they have made the definite decision about Wilshere and the Under-21s but they are considering it. But then of course the pressure starts.”

And that has seen some buckle. Many a player’s potential has been left on the Reserve team pitch without ever making its way to a major stadium.

“You can never rule it out but I think Jack will make it here,” said Wenger.

“The evolution of a boy is mental as well. From now to 18 or 19 we will see how he copes. But he's a very passionate and determined boy and very strong physically, even though he is small. And, of course, you want the player to get to 18 without a big injury.”

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14 Nov 2008