independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Gerrard a great role model - Wilshere

Jack Wilshere aspires to be a 'great role model' like Steven Gerrard, pictured

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere would love to emulate the achievements of role model England captain Steven Gerrard to be at the heartbeat of his team for both club and country.

The 21-year-old goes from strength to strength with every game as he looks to put a frustrating spell on the sidelines with ankle and knee injuries firmly behind him - crashing in a superb late winner against Swansea on Wednesday night to fire the Gunners into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Wilshere said. "He has been the heartbeat of Liverpool for years. He has also been the stand-out performer for England as well. He is a great role model for me. If I can get anywhere near as good as him and drive the team forward like he does, then I will be happy."

While not wanting to add to the pressure already on Wilshere's young shoulders from an expectant nation, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is in no doubt there is plenty more to come.

Wilshere's energy and dynamism has drawn comparisons with Liverpool skipper Gerrard, whose determination helped the Reds win the 2005 Champions League final and saw him tasked with leading the national side into the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign under Roy Hodgson.

"I remember Steven Gerrard scoring a similar goal to mine in the FA Cup final against West Ham and also the Champions League game against Olympiacos. He is a great player, but I think I am a bit different - his long passing is better than mine," Wilshere added.

"He was someone I looked up to when I was younger. He has 100 caps for England. For any young midfielder he is someone to base your game on and try to be like him."

Despite the clamour surrounding his all-action displays, Wilshere is determined to let his game develop naturally and will not get swept up in all the hype.

"I have got a great family around me who keep me grounded. I don't see myself different to anyone else. I have to work hard," he said. "I missed a year of football which is tough, particularly because I am a young player who was breaking through, but I am not where I want to be yet.

"I just want to work hard on my right foot, on my long passing, things like that and just get better and better."

Press Association

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