Barcelona may have a team full of Jack Wilsheres, but Arsenal have just one which is what makes him so indispensable for the Gunners.
It is not common to see a teenager became an integral part of the team, but Wilshere has established himself as one of Arsenal’s best players this season and has been their most consistent performer.
For a team normally accused of producing talented yet weak willed youngsters, Wilshere is a break from that stereotype and has shown that he has the maturity and tenacity of a player well beyond his age.
Jack Wilshere has been hailed as the next big thing in world football for quite some time but until this season, he had failed to establish himself as a regular starter and only showed glimpses of his potential in the Emirates Cup.
Following his impressive loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, many expected him to have a breakthrough season this year, but not to this extent.
Wilshere has stamped his authority in the Arsenal midfield and without his drive in midfield, Arsenal would definitely not have gone this far this season.
This season, he has already managed to make 42 appearances in all competitions, with only Andrei Arshavin having made more and looks the favorite to clinch the PFA Young Player of the Year award and rightfully so.
Wilshere has scored two goals and has nine assists to his name. The statistics hardly depict how important and effective he has been for the Gunners.
Whether it be against Barcelona, Chelsea or teams like Blackpool, he has always managed to impress and this season there has hardly been a game in which he as looked out of place.
Jack Wilshere has outshone his more illustrious captain, Cesc Fabregas, both in his performances and in the commitment displayed by the players.
While Samir Nasri got off to a flying start this season, his performances have deteriorated slightly as the season progressed, while the Englishman has remained consistent and brilliant throughout.
His passing, creativity, vision and ability to dribble make him so deadly and his ability to play in several positions across the midfield makes him all the more important.
But what makes him so invaluable to the Gunners is his attitude, his fighting spirit and drive to make something out of nothing.
The match against Barcelona at the Camp Nou is a perfect example of his fighting spirit. After the sending off of Robin van Persie and thanks to goals from Messi and Xavi, Arsenal found themselves 3-1 down and 4-3 down on aggregate.
In this situation, it was this 19 year old who was still trying to win it for the Gunners.
While the rest of the team looked crestfallen and dejected, he kept on trying and it almost paid off, but thanks to Nicklas Bendtner’s poor finishing, Arsenal were eliminated.
Whether it be the game against the Catalan giants or against the likes of Blackburn and Blackpool, Wilshere has always kept on trying, kept on working towards finding a gap.
This season has taught us that merely having talent in your squad is not enough. You also need to have a winning mentality, the spirit to win no matter the odds. It is fair to say that this season very few Arsenal players have displayed that quality, but there is no doubt that Jack Wilshere has shown this attitude.
Fabregas maybe more talented that Wilshere, but an injury to Wilshere will be more devastating than an injury to Fabregas.
The reason is simple: Fabregas’ passion for the Arsenal cause seems to waning in recent times despite being the Arsenal captain, while Wilshere has shown all the passion and drive, what we Arsenal fans want to see from our beloved captain.
That is the simple reason why Wilshere has outshone the Spaniard this season. It’s not about the quality, but it’s the drive and passion that is shown.
Wilshere is the fighter that Arsenal have been lacking for so long. He may be merely 19, but neither his performances not his attitude indicate that he is so young. He has displayed all the characteristics of a player who has been playing this game for quite some time now.
So it is hardly surprising that many experts including the coach of the England national football team has proclaimed him as the next captain of the English side. It also looks like it is only a matter of time before Wilshere becomes the next Arsenal captain.
Arsenal’s current captain is a man who leads with his performances, a man who lets the ball do all the talking. But that is not what the Gunners so desperately require. Arsenal requires a leader who can help them rally, a leader who can inspire the troops to fight against adversity.
Arsenal have never really found a captain who could fill the shoes of the legendary, Patrick Vieira and Tony Adams. Those two players were captains that no one will ever forget. They battled adversity and came out of them stronger.
Jack Wilshere is of the same mould.
He may be extremely young right now and still has a long way to go. But even at the age of 19, he sends out signals that make us sure that he is the next captain of Arsenal. He can be that strong willed man that Arsenal requires to lead them.
In recent times, Arsenal have been accused of being weak willed, susceptible to collapsing when faced with adversity. The same can hardly be said of Wilshere. If anything he is exactly the opposite.
He thrives on the big situation, so it must hardly come as a surprise that his one of his best performances cam against Barcelona at the Emirates as he proved to be the midfield lynchpin that launched Arsenal to a famous victory.
Wilshere has a certain inner toughness and ruthlessness in him that separates him from the rest. Another indicator of his mental strength is the way in which he has handled all the pressure and how he has managed the weight of expectations.
He has been touted as the savior of English football and such lofty claims can prove to be overwhelming for any youngster.
But Wilshere has proven that he is made of sterner stuff. He has effectively dealt with the pressure and expectations for his club and to a lesser extent on the International stage. That is because he has played very few games for England but when he has, it has been impressive.
Arsenal require more players to display the same tenacity and hunger for success that Wilshere displays. They fail to show the fight he shows.
He may be just 19 but the rest of the team need to display the character displayed by this English teenager. Arsenal’s title hopes are alive, but just barely and in such a situation, they can hardly afford any slip ups and need to make most of their chances and need to show more fight.
Despite his relatively small stature, he rarely backs down from a tackle and although he tends to get a bit reckless at times, his ability to go after any ball, fight for any ball highlights his commitment and dedication to the team.
It’s all this that is seeing everyone tout him as the next Paul Scholes.
If there is any drawback in Wilshere’s game it is that he is goal shy and rarely takes a shot at goal. This has been all too evident this season and he will have to work on it.
But like Wenger said, he will only improve in this aspect as time goes on.
Wilshere’s enthusiasm and work rate make him irreplaceable and it would do Arsenal wonders if the rest of the squad displayed his dedication towards winning games.