Arsenal boss Wenger backs Wilshere for 2010 World Cup

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says 16 year-old Jack Wilshere is good enough for England's 2010 World Cup squad.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says 16 year-old Jack Wilshere is good enough for England's 2010 World Cup squad.

Theo Walcott was almost destroyed by the pressure when he went to the 2006 World Cup finals on Wenger’s advice.

Yet the Arsenal boss has no fears about recommending Wilshere to Fabio Capello and insists his 16-year-old midfielder will be a full England international sooner rather than later.

Wenger pointed out: “Theo was only 17 when he went to the last World Cup and had never played a single Premier League game.

“Wilshere will be 18 by 2010 and will have played for us in the League and in the Champions League. So you cannot rule out the possibility of him going to the World Cup.

“I believe the FA have already decided the first step for him is to move up to the Under-21s next year and see how he deals with that.

“We have to assess the situation in two years but he is a very passionate and determined boy and very strong physically, even though he is quite small.”

Yet Wenger has ruled out the possibility of Stevenage-born Wilshere, the youngest player in Arsenal’s history, becoming a first-team regular this season.

He said: “I think we did the right thing with Theo. Until you are 19 you cannot be considered as a regular.

“The only exception to that rule was Cesc Fabregas, but he had a very mature game at a very young age.

"From 16 to 19 is a very important period in a player’s development. The level of expectation becomes very high and you have to show that you are ready to deal with that pressure.

“You can put a boy of 16 under too much pressure and that can kill their freedom and their appetite for the game.

“Right now Jack Wilshere can play a game or two in the first- team but he is not ready to play week-in, week-out at a consistent level. The demands in this League are too high.”

Have your say