In Depth

Arsenal fans split as Wilshere asks to fill holding midfield role

Wilshere says he has asked Wenger if he can take a deeper position for the Gunners as well as England

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told Jack Wilshere that he cannot play as a deep-lying defensive midfielder for the Gunners, despite the fact that the position is one of the club's problem areas.

Wilshere has performed admirably for England in a holding role in recent matches and has asked his club manager if he could take up the same position at the Emirates, only to be told that he was not ready, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The 22-year-old was man of the match for England against Scotland and also played deep against Slovenia.

"The midfielder thinks he is playing better than ever for England, but started Arsenal's last Premier League game against Swansea City on the substitutes' bench... while Mathieu Flamini was asked to protect the defence," notes the Telegraph.

"Wilshere, 22, faces even more competition for Saturday's game against Manchester United, with captain Mikel Arteta set to return from injury and take up his normal holding role."

Neither Flamini or Arteta have the full backing of the Arsenal fans, who want Wenger to bring in an alternative in the transfer window. But now Wilshere has offered to fill the void.

Asked about the prospect of playing in a less advanced position after the Scotland match, Wilshere said: "I wouldn't mind playing it at Arsenal and I've already spoken to the manager about it, and he doesn't see me playing that role just yet.

"I enjoy my role for Arsenal as well because I can get a bit further forward, but I wouldn't mind to play the holding role for Arsenal. That's the manager's decision."

Most Arsenal fans are agreed that the lack of a dominant defensive midfielder is one of the current side's main weaknesses, but they appear split on whether Wilshere is the man to fill the role.

"Wilshere has certainly delivered some eye-catching performances in an England shirt, but it's far too simplistic to suggest that doing well against Switzerland, San Marino, Slovenia and Scotland means he's right for a similar role at Arsenal," says the Arseblog website.

Others see his England exertions as a dress rehearsal for the role with the Gunners. "We've dreamed of a player similar to [Patrick] Vieira ever since Vieira left, but maybe it's not so much that we've missed him as much as we've overlooked Wilshere," says the Woolwich1886 website. He has the "pace and grit" to shield the defence and the skills to launch attacks, it argues.

Recommended

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry

Qatar’s tainted World Cup
Workers at the site of the Lusail Stadium in 2019
Why we’re talking about . . .

Qatar’s tainted World Cup

Ralf ‘professor’ Rangnick takes charge at Man Utd
Ralf Rangnick: a hatred of star players
Profile

Ralf ‘professor’ Rangnick takes charge at Man Utd

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
View from the terraces

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era

Popular articles

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?
Boris Johnson
Behind the scenes

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?

Is World War Three looming?
Xi Jinping
In Depth

Is World War Three looming?

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

The Week Footer Banner