Wilshere to fill void

Jack Wilshere has set his sights on filling the void left by Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in England’s midfield.

The Arsenal man started Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Norway alongside Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson at Wembley Stadium. 

Following Gerrard and Lampard’s international retirements, Wilshere is aiming to cement his place as a regular starter in Roy Hodgson’s line-up for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign – starting with the trip to Switzerland on Monday. 

Switzerland v England

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

And the 22-year-old is excited about building a new partnership with Henderson at the highest level after playing with him in lower age groups.

He said: “I played with Jordan for a few years at Under-21 level. I’ve always worked well with him. He’s a great player. He’s so fit, you’ve seen that for Liverpool. He can win challenges, he gets up to the ball and on the ball he’s got a lot of quality.

“Obviously it’s disappointing when Steven and Frank retired, they were massive players for England, great ambassadors and that is the level me and Jordan have got to get to.

“We’re confident, but it’s not just us, there’s Fabian Delph and Jack Colback as well so there’s a good battle going on and we’re all friends so that’s good.”

Wilshere also spoke in glowing terms about Wayne Rooney’s leadership qualities, emphasising that his experience after coming through the ranks as a teenager at Everton makes him the perfect choice to guide current young stars such as Sterling.

Jack Wilshere speaks to the press

He said: “Even before he was captain, for me, he was always someone that was a leader, a big personality.

“He’s not scared to tell you what you’re doing wrong and he helps you with what you’re doing right. He’s the perfect choice for me.”

He added: “He was thrown on to the scene at Everton when he was 16 and he’s had a fantastic career, scored so many goals and especially with England. He’s a stand-out choice for me and he’s doing well.”

Wilshere admitted the season ahead was a big one for his career as he looks to be a key performer for both club and country.

The Arsenal star said: “I never hid away from that fact, this is a big season for me. I’m feeling good, I’m getting stronger and stronger every game, I’m close to where I want to be.”