Hodgson on Wilshere

Roy Hodgson believes Jack Wilshere could play a big part for England as they prepare to start their Euro 2016 qualification campaign.

The 22-year-old Arsenal midfielder has made an impressive start to the season and was a star performer in their Champions League victory over Besiktas last week.

And following the international retirement of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, there is a chance for Wilshere to stake a claim for a regular berth in Hodgson’s Three Lions team. 

England v Norway

International Match
8pm, Wednesday 3 September 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
www.TheFA.com/tickets

“He is a player who has been on the radar for a long time, and has been unlucky with injury,” said Hodgson. “He broke onto the scene long before I came along, but of course, when I came along he wasn’t available because of the long-term injuries.

“We got a chance to briefly see him before he got injured again, so it’s probably only been the last six months or so, leading up to the World Cup, where he’s become a feature and someone who could fit the bill for the midfield.”

“It’s been very encouraging for me to see him playing pain free and without any fitness issues, and even more encouraging to see him playing well, as I think he was against Besiktas in the midfield. 

“It leads you to hope and believe he could do the same thing in an England shirt.”

Wilshere, who has already collected 20 senior caps, was part of the England World Cup squad, featuring in the draw with Costa Rica. 

And now, with a host of other young hopefuls in a squad with an average age of 25, Hodgson believes they can lead the Three Lions to France 2016.  

“We have high hopes of people like Jack, but I don’t think he’ll have to shoulder the responsibility alone – there are others,” said the manager.

“On this particular occasion we don’t have Lallana and Barkley, but they are on the rise. Walcott is about to return, so I would like to think there are a number of players.

“This is a new group of players in certain respects, they’ll have to take responsibility now.”

Despite early elimination from the World Cup after group defeats to Italy and Uruguay, Hodgson believes his side can push on and begin to build on some of the promise that was shown in Brazil.  

“I am not prepared to approach it with the doom and gloom because, for me, it is margins,” said Hodgson. 

“I’m not trying to be nonchalant about the fact that we failed, but the margins are small, there’s no reason for me to think we can’t go on and be better.

“I personally believe we learned a lot from the World Cup and these young players won’t let England down going forward – they will form the kernel of a team in the future.”

Ray Lewington and Roy Hodgson ahead of kick-off

England boss Hodgson with assistant Ray Lewington

He added: “You have to be mentally strong, we’ve got to deal with it because we can’t turn the clock back, we can’t play those two games again.

“These players have to make certain they don’t let that negativity impact on them as it will hurt their chances. They have no reason to. 

“Jack Wilshere played one game against Costa Rica, Jordan Henderson only came in just before the World Cup, Oxlade-Chamberlain never kicked a ball. 

“There’s no reason for them to take the World Cup burden on their shoulders.”

England meet Norway at Wembley on Wednesday night to kick off the new season. You can buy tickets online here