Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been called up by England manager Roy Hodgson for the World Cup warm up match against Denmark at Wembley Stadium on March 5th. Both players have a good chance to be in the mix for Hodgson’s starting eleven come the 2014 World Cup in June, but good performances against the Danes will certainly help them.
Many have criticised Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger over the years for bringing in foreign talent rather than using English players, however, with two of England’s brightest young players looking likely to make the squad, this may begin to silence those doubters.
Of course, the Arsenal contribution to England’s World Cup effort would be greater if it weren’t for Theo Walcott’s unfortunate injury suffered against Tottenham earlier in the season. Even with a few months remaining before the start of the competition in Brazil, star players are being ruled out with injury, such as striker Radamel Falcao for World Cup group C side Colombia.
However, the two Arsenal players that should be going to the World Cup will be Arsenal’s biggest contribution since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when then-Gooners Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and a 17 year old Theo Walcott made the squad. With this fact in mind, Wenger’s doubters may not have as much of an argument to make.
Wilshere has long been considered a future England star in midfield, and possibly a long-term captain. With perhaps the most important five months of his career so far about to begin, Wilshere has been, according to manager Wenger, “…coming back to his best” in recent games, including a fantastic assist after just 5 minutes in Arsenal’s recent 4-1 Premier League victory over Sunderland.
Because Wilshere has seemingly been in and around the Arsenal and England squads for a number of years already, it is easy to forget that he is still just 22 years old, and if he can carry on maturing as he has, Wilshere could be a star of the World Cup in the English midfield.
The young winger has already made a name for himself on the international stage, scoring in England’s friendly against Brazil in the Maracana stadium in 2013. Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in excellent form for his club side, scoring a number of goals in February to keep Arsenal in the title hunt. His energy and goal scoring threat could be a crucial factor in England’s World Cup challenge this summer.
But could it be 3?
The inclusion of young and promising Southampton left back has to be a cause for concern for Arsenal’s injured Kieran Gibbs. Gibbs was in the last Hodgson squad so Gunners must just hope he is being called up for the experience. Gibbs now had 3 England caps speared over several years and has been desperately unlucky with injuries. More reecently he has shared the work load with Nacho Monreal which has frustrated many Arsenal fans and the player also one assumes.
With Ashley Cole getting no football at Chelsea. Leighton Baines has cemented the No.3 shirt but the place on the plane for his understudy is a 3 horse race and had the England coach has confirmed those no in this squad are not ruled out so Arsenal might yet have 3 Young Guns on the plane to Brazil
So, with Arsenal potentially contributing three (including Walcott) key players to the English team for the next decade, it may be time for Wenger-doubters to get off his back about nurturing home-grown talent.