By Chris Harris
Jack Wilshere has been likened to Liam Brady since taking the Premier League by storm - so it’s rather fitting that the 18-year-old sees the Arsenal legend as his role model.
Brady’s midfield mastery lit up the Arsenal team of the late Seventies and propelled Terry Neill’s side to three consecutive FA Cup Finals from 1978 to 1980.
Now, 30 years on, another playmaker with a wand of a left foot has emerged through the Club’s ranks in the shape of Wilshere. And although the 18-year-old was born 18 months after Brady retired, the Irishman has passed on his wisdom as Arsenal’s Head of Youth Development.
“Liam Brady is my role model,” Wilshere told supporters at a Q&A in the WM Club at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
“He works with the youth players now and he has always been there in my career. He has helped me a lot and people have said I am a similar player to him so he is probably my role model.”
Wilshere could not have wished for better standard-bearers since he joined Arsenal in 2001 at the age of nine. Patrick Vieira was vice-captain back then and another midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, is the current skipper. Wilshere has learned lessons from both men.
“I think at the minute Cesc Fabregas is the best midfielder in the Premier League but in the past there have been players like Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira - all complete midfielders,” said the 18-year-old.
“I was on the books when Patrick was still here and I think the way he tackled and intercepted play is something I would add to my game.
“Cesc talks to me and tells me what I need to do. He was 16 when he burst onto the scene so you just need to talk to the senior players like him and they help you through.”
Wilshere recently signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal and has been tipped to start England’s forthcoming friendly with France at Wembley. He has already achieved so much at the tender age of 18 but believes he has plenty of room for improvement.
“The strongest part of my game at the moment is my passing - which is good as that's the way Arsenal play - and my weakest is probably my right foot, but I'm working on that,” he said.
“I try to use my right foot but it could be better.”Copyright 2013 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 4 Nov 2010