‘I’ve been playing out wide for Arsenal, which is not me’ – Jack Wilshere relishing central midfield role with England
Fit-again Jack Wilshere is happier being England’s middle man than playing out wide at Arsenal.
Wilshere returned to Roy Hodgson’s XI in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Turkey, having started just once for the Gunners at the end of a season ruined by a broken leg.
The 24-year-old was understandably short of his top form in the Euro 2016 warm-up, and came off after 66 minutes, but all indications are that he will be on the plane to France barring an unexpected breakdown.
And Hodgson’s faith extends not only to Wilshere’s fitness, but also his best position.
At Arsenal he is often required to play on the flank when available but Hodgson immediately restored him to his preferred slot in the centre.
“With Arsenal I’ve been playing out wide, which is not me,” said Wilshere.
“I’m not a wide man, but Roy seems to have faith in me in the middle, so I’m happy with that. I like to play anywhere in the middle.
“I played the holding role before and I really enjoy that, and, this time I was a bit higher up the pitch and I enjoyed that as well.
“I’ve worked with Roy now and his staff for a number of years and they know what I bring and I know what they want from me as well.”
Wilshere is bullish about his readiness for the tournament, despite his lack of game time and reputation for fragility.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger could have used him earlier than he did at the end of the campaign, but erred on the side of caution.
That has left Wilshere eager to be back on the pitch and he hopes to feature in both of England’s remaining friendlies against Australia and Portugal.
“You always have those days when you are in the gym where you think you’re not going to get back, but the thing that kept me going was I know what it takes to get back and I always had time on my side so I was confident,” he said.
“I remember my first training session back, which was eight weeks ago, and ever since then I’ve just been trying to work, get better and get fitter each day.
“The most important thing for me now is to get games and to get that match sharpness.
“I know what it’s like coming back from injury and with every game I’ll feel better.”