Wilshere: Exciting times

Jack Wilshere says he’s enjoyed being back in the England fold this week and is excited by the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

After helping the Three Lions beat a stubborn Norwegian side at Wembley on Wednesday, the Arsenal midfielder is looking forward to Monday’s trip to Switzerland.

Roy Hodgson’s young squad play their first game on the Road to France and Wilshere believes the next two years will give the new crop of talent the chance to flourish. 

Switzerland v England

European Qualifier
7.45pm BST, Monday 8 September 2014
St Jakob Park, Basel
Watch live on ITV

The 22-year-old, who has been part of the England senior squad since his debut in 2010, caught up with TheFA.com as he prepared to speak to the press to preview the match in Basel.

He said: “That game [v Norway] was really about getting us set up for Monday. At international football it is about winning games and we are happy we won it, but we have a big qualifier on Monday and we have to get things right for then.”

He continued: “I was 18 when I made my debut and at that age you really do feel young, but two or three years in football is a long time.

“Your confidence goes up when you get a bit older. At 18, 19, I’d sit there at dinner next to Wayne Rooney, who was one of my heroes. But you start becoming a member of the team, if you like, and feel comfortable here.

“On the pitch you feel more comfortable and know what to expect. Over the next two years you’ll really see these young players develop.

“At the start of the Euro 2012 qualifiers I was sitting down speaking to the journalists and they were saying, over the next couple of years you’re going to be more comfortable in this environment and be one of England’s big players. But you don’t believe them.

“Two years goes quick, you take more responsibility on the pitch. So in two years’ time, players will be that much older, football’s going to change, so it’s exciting times.”

Behind the scenes with Jack Wilshere

He added: “If we can get a result on Monday, and be in a strong position going into the next few games, we’ll be alright.”

Wilshere was part of England’s squad at the World Cup as they failed to reach the knock-out stages following defeats to Italy and Uruguay.

However, he only started in one game – the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica. 

And while he says it was disappointing to go out early, he believes the team will have less pressure going into the new qualifying campaign 

“It was tough to take at the World Cup, not just as a player but as a fan,” he said. 

“But now is the perfect time to show everyone. There’s no pressure on us and we can go into the next few games with a little bit more freedom. 

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere trains at St. George’s Park

“So if we can put in a few good performances and get results, people will get back on our side.”

As England headed home from Brazil, their opponents on Monday stayed in until Finals Argentina sent them out with an extra-time victory.

Wilshere is expecting a tricky game in Basel, but is full of hope that England can come back victorious.

“Switzerland are a good team, they have some good players and did well at the World Cup,” he said. 

“I remember playing them in the Euro 2012 qualifiers at home and we were 2-0 down after 20 minutes. They’ll have near enough the same team and have been to the Euros together and the World Cup together, so they have done a lot of growing up as well.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, but we feel we can go there and get a good result.”