By Arsenal Vision
Jack Wilshere's performance off the bench against Swansea City was a bit of a surprise wasn't it? He's been out for an awfully long time now so naturally you expect the long road ahead to match sharpness but I've found myself saying this a lot in recent times and then subsequently being proven wrong.
Is it something we are doing in training? Are players afforded more time coming back into the first team squad thus allowing more time to get closer to match fitness? Whatever the reason, it can only be a good thing.
A right-sided attacking role is a very intriguing one for Jack. On paper it could well be a position in this Arsenal team well suited to him for a number of reasons.
Firstly as I've mentioned before he doesn't have to rely quite as much on his positional discipline, something that has hindered us in the past when Wilshere has been in the middle of the pitch. Also Wilshere likes to aggressively close down players which is now very much required from our wide men.
Mesut Ozil also tends to look for spaces on the right which would allow Wilshere to move inside, an interchange that could well suit both players. Lastly, we know that Jack is very left footed and will look to drive inside his man. He is unlikely to run outside his opposing full back so this should allow plenty of space for Hector Bellerin to operate in.
As excited as I sound about a possible start for Wilshere, the feelings towards him over the last 12 months or so have been very different by quite a few Gooners it seems.
Deficiencies in young players are not set in stone, hell it can be the same for older players also. Nacho Monreal was prime for the scrap heap according to some last season and look what a run in the team along with a dash of confidence has done for him. Arguably he is now producing the best and most consistent football at left back since Ashley Cole. If you were a Monreal doubter and are now a Wilshere doubter, then why can't Wilshere make huge leaps forward with a run of football under his belt?
The other difference to take into consideration is that the team around Wilshere is in very different shape to the team at the start of the season. Cohesion and team balance was not correct at the beginning and yes you could argue that Wilshere had contributed to that but I'd argue that so had Alexis Sanchez even though he provided us with match winning/saving performances.
But it was no good Alexis being a star player when the rest of the attack was not functioning. The attack as a collective is functioning now rather than individuals and we are far better for it. I wonder if this team stability will be a big help for Jack.
Having said all of the above Wilshere has a way to go before he dislodges someone like Aaron Ramsey who has been terrific in whichever position he plays. Ramsey also has goals in his game, something that Wilshere simply does not have at present.
All Wilshere needs to do is to perform as he did during his cameos at Hull and against Swansea, and more importantly than anything else, stay fit. If he does that then I'm sure he will prove a lot of people wrong.