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Bould backs Wilshere to shine


Backing: Jack Wilshere

Backing: Jack Wilshere

Backing: Jack Wilshere

Steve Bould believes Jack Wilshere has the quality to earn a place in England's World Cup squad but is concerned the Arsenal midfielder will have to manage injuries for the rest of his career.

Wilshere, 26, was last week in line for his first international cap since the Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland only for a small knee problem to rule him out of the friendly double-header against Holland and Italy.

He faces an uncertain end to the campaign as he looks to play himself into Gareth Southgate's final World Cup selection and work out his contract wrangle at Arsenal.

Wilshere's current deal expires at the climax of the current season and there have been differing messages from the player and Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger on what is causing the hold-up in signing fresh terms.

"It can happen at any time, I don't know if there is anybody to blame. It is just one of those things," Bould said of the knee issue that kept Wilshere out of the friendlies. "I haven't actually spoken to him, in all honesty. But he will have been disappointed. He wants to play for his country, I'm sure."

Despite the recent setback, Wilshere should be fit enough to retain his starting berth for the visit of Stoke tomorrow. Wenger could yet choose to hold him back for Thursday's Europa League quarter-final meeting with CSKA Moscow as he looks to manage Wilshere's fitness.

"I think perhaps he will always have a little niggle here and there because of the way he is structured," added Bould, who managed Wilshere when he starred in Arsenal's FA Youth Cup win in 2009.

"That's his make-up now. He's a great player. A fit Jack Wilshere is a very good player. I think we are all hopeful longer-term he has overcome those issues."

"I've known Jack since he was a real young kid. He's a great footballer - he loves the football club and we just need him fit more often than he has been in the past."