September 13th 2008, a young Jack Wilshere enters the fray as Arsenal complete a 4-0 rout of Blackburn at Ewood Park. A mere 10 days later, the English revelation scores in a league cup victory against Sheffield Wednesday. 6 weeks later, the 16 year old takes his talents into Europe’s finest competition, making an appearance against Dynamo Kyiv. The tenacious midfielder is the name on every fans lips, and he continues to remain that way.
2 years onward he dominates midfield’s across the land, and into Europe, controlling and oozing class against Europe’s finest in a prime Barcelona. The youngsters feet are firmly on the ground. Afraid to ask Lionel Messi to swap shirts, he asks then captain Cesc Fabregas to do the task on his behalf, the only time he was reliant on the midfield maestro throughout the season. He stood out, he made his mark, he was unstoppable, he was undroppable, he was one of Europe’s top young talents. A PFA Young Player of the Year award followed, the Englishman had the world at his feet.
Fast forward six years and the 24 year old has had his career ravaged by injury after injury after injury and has found himself playing his football in the south coast, quite the contrast to the Tuesday nights across Europe. Bournemouth represents last chance saloon. Eddie Howe embodies the philosophy Wilshere has had engrained in him, possession with progression. If any manager can bring Wilshere back to the levels he’s capable of it’s Howe.
The apparent perfection in the move south for Wilshere isn’t as fruitful as it seems. Despite the progressive football the Cherries play, Jack is often bypassed in the system Eddie Howe has implemented. All defenders are comfortable on the ball, as are the midfielders, however, the middle third is disregarded as Bournemouth seek to enter the final third immediately. As a result of this, the opposing defence is turned, however, Wilshere is now completely out of the game as he tirelessly seeks to catch up with play.
When the Arsenal man was found, he influenced games, as was evident in Bournemouth’s most recent fixture, a draw against Wilshere’s biggest haters, Tottenham. Moments of brilliance were evident, interlinking play when given the ball, killer passes when needed, and of course his trademark dribbling and low centre of gravity. 9 games into the season, Wilshere has thrived in moments, but is yet to consistently feature in games throughout the 90 minutes, through no fault of his own.
With a player of Wilshere’s quality at Eddie Howe’s disposal, it would be bordering on scandalous to not build the Cherries team around him. With his Arsenal future on the line, Howe determines Wilshere’s destiny, and for Arsenal fans sake, we can only pray he gets it right.