Could Jack Wilshere Ever Challenge Mesut Ozil for Arsenal’s No. 10 Spot?


The No. 10 kit is usually reserved for the No. 10 role, the guy that sits in the middle of the pitch just behind the striker and feeds the ball forward. This is also known as Mesut Ozil’s domain. And yet it is not Mesut Ozil that wears the No. 10 kit. It is Jack Wilshere.

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Jack Wilshere was the prodigy set to inherit Cesc Fabregas’ mantle, but a few hiccups and some injuries later and it is only now that the young Englishman is ready to make his mark. But he finds the team a bit different now than it was a couple of years ago. Long story short, there are no openings. At the base of the midfield sits Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla accross two spots and out wide we have the Ox, Alexis, Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry and more.

In the middle we have Mesut Ozil. Just Mesut Ozil.

Jack Wilshere has played a very successful deep-lying midfield role for the English National team and while that appears to be his preferred position, the fact that he was given the No. 10 kit so many years ago seems to hint otherwise. Could Jack Wilshere be a legitimate No. 10?

Mesut Ozil has a virtual vice grip on the spot after reestablishing himself as one of the best CAM’s in the game. His passing game is on point and he dribbles masterfully. But the part of Ozil’s game that goes largely unnoticed is his vision and awareness. There is no stat for such attributes, but if you watch Mesut Ozil scanning the field, he sees everything. He sees things that no one else sees. It is like he has an extra eye or two. He will pick out a runner ten seconds before he even makes a run.

And then there is the awareness. Mesut Ozil has incredibly acute awareness. His dummy passes can be surreal and he always seems to know what to do no matter what the situation.

Can Jack Wilshere do any of that? Not exactly. Wilshere is not Mesut Ozil. He is completely different. But given that internal competition is the new cool thing at Arsenal, who better to provide Mesut Ozil with a little competition than the spark plug known as Jack Wilshere?

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While Wilshere cannot pass like Ozil, he can drive. Jack Wilshere is known for driving the ball forward with no regard for his own safety. Not only that but Wilshere is incredibly physical, whereas Ozil is anything but. So if the goal at Arsenal is to get a bit more physical, who better than Jack Wilshere? Not only that, but it would be at a position that is not traditionally a physical position.

I am in no way advocating for Wilshere to take Mesut Ozil’s spot. That would be treason and/or heresy and I would tar and feather myself. But I do think that Arsene Wenger should give young Jack a few goes at the No. 10 role. Not only would it give us a good indication of if he is capable of it or not, but it would give Mesut Ozil the slightest hint of competition, and that will drive up his game as well.

Posting stats here would serve no purpose. Jack Wilshere has no stats that can back this up because he has not played enough anywhere, let alone at the No, 10 role. But if Arsene Wenger truly has no intention of playing Wilshere in a deeper role and the wings are still cluttered, why not let him get some playing time at the most important attacking role on the pitch? It is not like Mesut Ozil can play every game anyway.

Next: Arsenal Profiles: The Core Midfielders

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