Paul Parker: Jack Wilshere is no Gazza, he should not be in England squad

Paul Parker: Wilshere is no Gazza, he should not be in England squad

09/11/2016 at 03:42Updated 09/11/2016 at 05:12

Jack Wilshere has only been picked in the England squad because of his reputation, not his displays at Bournemouth, writes an unhappy Paul Parker.


The only positive to come out of Jack Wilshere's time at Bournemouth so far is that he’s played regular games. When it comes to performances, there hasn’t been anything worth noting. So I’m worried about Gareth Southgate using him for England.

"Perhaps even Wilshere is a bit embarrassed about the call up. Was it about his performances, or his reputation? You need him to take control of the midfield at his club. Everyone is talking about the full-back Adam Smith who is brilliant going forwards, is gritty, tenacious. No-one is talking about Wilshere. "

When he first came on the scene there were comparisons with Paul Gascoigne. But I don’t see any similarity, it was just an easy name to pick.

He’s not a very good athlete, in fact he is a terrible runner – not an old-school Arsene Wenger type player. Although Gazza had an ungainly style, he was always at his best when he was running at the opposition.

If he didn’t run past them, he could run between them. And we haven’t had anyone like that since then who is comfortable doing that. Certainly not Wilshere - he’s more of a controlled pass-and-move player, looking for those match-winning balls. Perhaps he can find a gap between centre-backs for forwards to run through, but he’s not Gazza.

Paul Gascoigne plays for England in 1996

Paul Gascoigne plays for England in 1996PA Photos

The problem is, he’s been very hyped up. At the time he came through at Arsenal, he was young and the club were known for bringing in foreign talent. As an Englishman, he was sold to fans by the club and Wenger to contrast with the rest of the squad.

I can’t say he’s not a decent player; he is, he’s been in the Premier League and at Arsenal for a while. But there are talented players who are coming through, who have been playing regular football for a long time, and haven’t been given an opportunity. Just because he’s been given a run of games at Bournemouth doesn’t mean he deserves it.

When Gazza was young, he played with older players, was nurtured and improved. He also had a hell of a personality – mainly for telling those senior guys he was better. But while Wilshere learnt off some good players he wasn’t given the opportunity to play regularly with them.

Sure, injury played a part in that, but you also look at the way he runs and you have to wonder how much stress he puts on his legs with his running style. He’s very bow-legged and pigeon-toed.

I don’t even know his best position – I remember he scored a wonderful goal for Arsenal against Norwich in 2013 when he played a 1-2 with Giroud on the edge of the box – so he has got ability in those areas, but can he play in that attacking role consistently?

We have so many players that want to play there. And you have to remember that playing at No 10 for England is a bit different to any other country – Brazil. Spain or Portugal, for example. We don’t really rate No 10s, we don’t breed them, they still have to track back and defend. Elsewhere, their priority is how many opportunities they make, not how many times you tackle back.

England interim manager Gareth Southgate during the press conference

England interim manager Gareth Southgate during the press conferenceReuters

Wilshere is only in the squad because of the lack of options available to Southgate. Reputation at the moment means a lot at the moment in English football because sometimes you have to go by that as you can’t go on ability – they just don't get enough football. Would Big Sam have picked him? He said he would only pick players who had enough action under their belts and you have to say Wilshere hasn’t got that yet.

The FA must hope Wenger can fill the void

Speaking of Southgate, if I were him I'd go back to the Under 21s and look to produce some good youngsters, put them in the mind of the England manager, rather than be the main man. People will say he failed at Middlesbrough – though perhaps he didn’t have the qualifications at the time – but then landed in a nice, comfortable job.

In two years’ time his job at the moment could be gone, and will they allow him to go back to the job he had before? It’s England, not QPR with Chris Ramsey. Long term, and remember he is still young for a manager, if he fails, he’ll have to start looking for jobs elsewhere. He’ll be unemployable as a No 2 after this role. So he should say thanks very much, I’d like my old job back.

Bournemouth's English head coach Eddie Howe

Bournemouth's English head coach Eddie HoweAFP

" The problem is, the manger is not given any time to build something. The Germans are happy to do it, but we won’t. "

We should have a blueprint and do it a certain way. We know that the newspapers will have a go at us every two years, but we should get through it. If someone asks about what happened with Iceland last summer, just ignore it, say ‘I shop at ASDA’.

But that will not happen until the FA is ripped open and football people get involved – not necessarily managers and footballers – but those that go in to run the business and try to rebuild it as you would a company. They have to realise that sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards. The people who it really matters to are those watching on the TV and travelling to games, potentially risking a trip to Russia for the World Cup finals.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene WengerReuters

So who should be England boss? People keep talking about Eddie Howe, but I’d like to see him have a run or success at Bournemouth, they should leave the young kid alone. He had a bad experience at Burnley, he’s probably still getting over that.

"We have to stop naming someone because they are English. We have to look for talent. If it’s a foreign manager, find someone who likes England, who respects England. "

If we are looking for someone to fill a gap for a while, we should be hoping that Arsene Wenger retires from Arsenal and ask him to come and do that job. He will want to do it his way and tell the FA what he needs from them, not the other way round.

If I was Southgate, I wouldn’t be assuming I’d get the England job if I beat Scotland. That’s ridiculous. What about Slovenia and Slovakia, beating them four or five nil? We need to produce that type of performance, it’s not just about the winning.

Paul Parker