Gareth Southgate plans Jack Wilshere talks after questioning Arsenal star's best position

James Benge

Gareth Southgate is planning clear the air talks with Jack Wilshere to explain why he deems the Arsenal midfielder unsuitable for his England squads.

Wilshere was left out of the Three Lions initial selection for friendlies against Germany and Brazil and has suffered further setbacks to his England ambitions as Southgate opted to call Danny Drinkwater, who declined the selection because of injury, Jack Cork and Jake Livermore.

Southgate initially explained his decision to leave Wilshere out was due to the 25-year-old’s failure to carve out a regular spot in Arsene Wenger’s strongest Arsenal side – the playmaker has been largely confined to the Gunners’ Europa League and EFL Cup sides.

But Southgate added ahead of tonight’s Wembley clash with world champions Germany that Wilshere’s position as a number 10 was wrong both for the player and England.

“Jack played as a number 10 all of last season on loan at Bournemouth,” Southgate said.

“That is not the way we are playing. When we have played with a 10, we have had Dele [Alli] and [Adam] Lallana. But we are not playing with a 10 tomorrow.

“I don’t think Jack is a 10. I think he’s a deeper player but he’s not playing deeper.

“He didn’t play deeper for Bournemouth, you’d have to ask Eddie [Howe] why that was. He is not playing deeper for Arsenal. Again you’d have go ask Arsene [Wenger] why that was.


“But I want to be clear. I really like Jack Wilshere as a player, he is a talent and I really respect him as an individual.

“He’s a top kid. He’s a player that can play his way into our team. His understanding of the game is excellent.

“I’m hoping we are in a position in March where we can pick him.”

Southgate’s comments will only add to the confusion swirling around Wilshere, who told Standard Sport on Wednesday that he is eager to extend his contract at Arsenal, which expires in six months.

Wilshere admitted he was disappointed to have missed another England squad, which could spur him to consider a January exit, and Southgate plans to discuss the midfielder’s future role in the squad over the coming days.

“On the back of this week with everything that’s been said, it would be good for me to call him or meet him, just to clarify where I am,” Southgate added.

“I have a lot of respect for him as a player and when he was with the squad last year I really liked his mentality and personality.”