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Hodgson discusses Arsenal star’s England call-up

10:32 11 November 2012

Jack Wilshere in action for England. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Jack Wilshere in action for England. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

EMPICS Sport

England boss Roy Hodgson insists he has the trust of Arsene Wenger when it comes to looking after Jack Wilshere.

Just three games into his comeback after 17 months on the sidelines with a variety of injuries, even Wilshere concedes he is surprised at how quickly he has returned to the international fold.

Wenger has expressed his unease at Wilshere’s selection in the squad for Wednesday’s friendly with Sweden in Stockholm.

But Hodgson has confirmed his intention to treat the 20-year-old with kid gloves and has already confirmed Wilshere will not start in the new 50,000-capacity Friends Arena.

“I am aware of Arsene’s concerns, which I fully understand as he needs to look after a player who has been out for a length of time,” said Hodgson.

“But Jack is an important player for us and now he is fit and playing and available for selection, he understands we are going to put him in the squad.

“He trusts me to make certain I look after him.

“I have made it clear if he plays in this game it will be part of the game and won’t be a case of him starting the game and playing 90 minutes, which might be a bit much for him at international level at this moment.

“Unfortunately, conflict will always exist between national teams and club teams.

“We are never going to get a 100% situation but we are perfectly satisfied.”

The conversation between Wenger and Hodgson at least provides an assurance that relations between the FA and its senior club sides will not be run on the same dogmatic basis that existed during Fabio Capello’s time in charge.

However, it also underlines the importance Wilshere may eventually have in Hodgson’s plans, even though he has just five caps to his name at present.

“Jack burst onto the scene with enormous pomp and ceremony when he got into Capello’s team before his injury,” said Hodgson.

“Everyone was thinking then that we have an outstanding central midfield player.

“Of course we have missed him for the last 17 months because he has had this terrible problem with injury.

“He is the type of midfield player all teams are looking for today - a lot of energy, ability on the ball, capable of running with the ball, very tenacious in his play and the necessary pace of course.

“All the top teams in the world and are going down the route of pace, technique and mobility as opposed to routes that have been successful in the past, not least for teams like Sweden and England.”

So, if the Sweden trip comes too soon to offer a firm test of Wilshere’s ability, by the time Brazil sashay their way into Wembley in February the 20-year-old should be firing on all cylinders again.

“There is going to be a lot of football between November and February,” said Hodgson.

“If he is playing regularly for Arsenal and playing well during that period of time he should be at his previous level well before that.”

And once he is available, Wilshere’s presence would open the door to a far more fluid system, going far beyond the traditional 4-4-2 Hodgson appeared wedded to during Euro 2012.

“He can either fill a holding role or go further forward,” said the England boss.

“I put Tom Cleverley and Steven Gerrard in that bracket, and also Leon Osman, who I have included in this squad.

“The top teams are developing players who can play in more than one position.”

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