Sunday 25 March 2018

Roy Hodgson backs resurgent Jack Wilshere for England return

The Arsenal midfielder has a keen admirer in the former Three Lions boss.

Roy Hodgson and Jack Wilshere
Roy Hodgson and Jack Wilshere

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Roy Hodgson believes injury-plagued Jack Wilshere is rediscovering peak form and has backed him for a place in England’s World Cup squad.

Crystal Palace manager Hodgson is a big fan of the Arsenal midfielder and controversially took him to Euro 2016 during his time in charge of the national team.

Wilshere’s selection then came on the back of just three league appearances in 2015/16 and, after a subsequent season-long loan at Bournemouth, his career looked to have stalled.

Jack Wilshere

He continued to be a peripheral figure for Arsene Wenger’s side at the start of this campaign.

However, the 26-year-old has re-established himself as a key performer for the Gunners in recent months and, ahead of Palace’s Premier League trip to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Hodgson said he has been impressed.

“The last couple of games I’ve seen him play for Arsenal he’s reached a very high level,” Hodgson said.

“If you’re asking me what measure of progression there is from that, I don’t really know because I think he’s already at an extremely high level.

Jack Wilshere

“I think for Jack the simple fact is going to be, can he get that number of games under his belt consistently that his admirers, like myself, have always wanted to see him get, which unfortunately injury has prevented him from getting?

“I see no reason why the injuries should continue to prevent him.

“I hope it doesn’t happen for his sake, for England’s sake because he really is an outstanding talent.

“I’d like to see him available for selection (for England).

“Gareth (Southgate, the England manager) will make that decision but I think it would be nice if he had that option at least of a Jack Wilshere playing in the form he’s playing in at the moment and the form I’ve always known he’s had.”

Wilshere played a starring role when Arsenal and Palace met just over three weeks ago, producing a superb assist for one of Alexis Sanchez’s two goals to help his side record a 3-2 victory.

Like his Gunners team-mates Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Wilshere is out of contract in the summer with his future yet to be resolved.

Asked if the Eagles would be interested in signing Wilshere on a free transfer, Hodgson dismissed the suggestion as unrealistic.

“We couldn’t afford him,” he said.

Crystal Palace

“The fact is clubs have budgets. We’re Crystal Palace with a wage structure that suits our club. Jack has moved into a wage category which is way above what Crystal Palace, I’m certain, could pay so it’s really one of those hypothetical questions.

“Obviously if Jack wanted to come here and play for us for the wages that Crystal Palace can offer then I would be delighted but it’s not going to happen so there’s no point of me going to bed each night dreaming of that.”

Press Association

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