Arsenal: Jack Wilshere comments reveal his best quality

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal shows appreciation to the fans during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium on September 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal shows appreciation to the fans during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium on September 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Jack Wilshere discussed the inside-left role that he impressed in during Arsenal’s win over BATE Borisov. In doing so, he revealed his best quality: his positional intelligence.

The return of Jack Wilshere has unquestionably been a heartwarming one. The midfielder, while a divisive figure of which there is a wide range of opinion and thought on, has struggled greatly with injuries throughout his Arsenal career, and, irrespective of the level of his play, it is wonderful to simply see him playing again.

Related Story: 30 greatest transfers of past 30 years

And, thus far, he has shown glimpses that he may be able to rediscover his best form. In one particular performance against BATE Borisov, Wilshere, during particular periods, began to show the creative element to his attacking play, as he picked apart the Belarusian’s in a sumptuous display.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

Wilshere, when discussing his two starts — he also started against Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup — thus far with Arsenal Media Player, highlighted the differences between the central midfield position and inside-left forward position that he played in the two fixtures:

"“I can play in the deeper midfield role, which I did against Doncaster, and then I went and played on the left. I say on the left, but the boss told me before the game that he wanted me to come inside, get in the pockets [of space]. He didn’t want me to play as a left winger. It’s almost like a No 10 position if you like. You can come into that position, and me and Theo were switching in the game. I’m enjoying both roles to be honest and looking forward to getting more minutes in both.”"

Such comments reveal Wilshere’s greatest attribute: his positional intelligence. Although he is naturally skilled in many areas, with a good passing range, excellent vision, and a sharp burst in short spaces, it is his positional awareness, his presence to find pockets of space in even the tightest of final thirds, that make him such a creative and threatening midfielder.

As Wilshere himself details, against BATE Wenger gave him the positional freedom to drift inside, unshackled by defensive or wide responsibilities, instead given the license to roam, such that he can run the game from a positionless position. That is the role that he is best in because it exploits his best attribute.

When he is not tied down with the demands of providing width or midfield shape and structure or defensive protection, then he can work in the cracks of the game, as it begins to break down around him, weaselling his way into space, being the prodding, probing thorn that is so difficult to defend against.

Next: Arsenal: 3 players who must step up in Mustafi's absence

Whether Wilshere can consistently perform at his highest level, only time will tell. His body needs to hold up. That is something that has not happened since the 2010/11 season, and there is little reason to think anything will change. However, his talent and his traits — no less than his spatial awareness — are such that he deserves one last chance to prove what everyone hopes he is capable of.