Praveen’s latest “The Arsenal Annals” column.
Two appearances into his loan switch to Bournemouth, Jack Wilshere has hardly displayed any signs of improvement.
In either appearance, he never faced any competition for the Worst Player on the Pitch accolade, thereby making what was expected to pan out as a successful loan spell a disaster thus far.
With Granit Xhaka, Santi Cazorla, and Aaron Ramsey all excelling at the 24-year-old’s favoured position, Arsene Wenger made a wise decision to send him to Vitality Stadium in search of first-team minutes.
Although the French manager dodged a bullet when he vetoed a move to AS Roma, a move that might have seen him lock horns with the likes of Radja Nainggolan for minutes and more importantly, forced him to make unwanted tweaks to his playing style.
Accordingly, a Bournemouth loan switch should, in a perfect world, offer him the liberty to play his game, verify if he can proceed to operate as a regista for the club as he has been enjoying mammoth success as one for the England national team, and hone his skills under Eddie Howe, a rumoured Wenger replacement and a young manager who advocates a brand of football similar to Arsenal’s.
On his first start for the Cherries against Manchester City, though, he only completed 10 passes as he mustered a measly 5.93 match rating from WhoScored.
Howe’s men visibly played better after the Arsenal midfielder was withdrawn, but a part of City’s tuning down should have been down to their having a four-goal lead.
He can still convince him to think he went up against an unbeaten Pep Guardiola team, who play the most oppressive football in the league, having never played a full game with his teammates.
In fact, convincing him to think that way may work wonders for him especially since he seemingly put in little to no effort to win the ball back every time – 11 times, to be precise – he lost possession.
A fresh start will definitely act in his favour, but whether he will push for it remains to be seen.
He is under no pressure to impress Wenger during his loan spell, with the manager stating that he only sanctioned a loan move so he could garner ample playing time – and not as an opportunity to test his aptitude.
However, his perceived indifference may see Howe’s fringe players take his place in the midfield in the future.
The England midfielder was rumoured to have favoured a move to Roma before opting to get his name printed on the back of a Bournemouth shirt.
Perhaps, seeing his wish turned down by Arsenal is playing a major role in boosting his indifference.
However, the passionate footballer in Wilshere will likely goad the currently under-performing Wilshere to go the extra mile, so he could come off a fruitful loan spell to take Santi Cazorla’s place in the starting line-up next season after helping Bournemouth stay in the Premier League.
Though many allege his chances of becoming the footballer he was initially destined to become are slim, he can still turn things around to become an Arsenal legend.
He should soon find his Leicester City’s Arsenal selfie soon, though.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
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