Thursday, 12 August 2010

Gibbs, Wilshere and Walcott - how did they do?

Jack Wilshere (picture courtesy Attilafozo)

I think I must have been hallucinating yesterday evening because it looked as if Arsenal had three players in the England team. And you know what? They all looked good.

Inevitably after all the hype surrounding Jack Wilshere, it was Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs who impressed the most.

Kieran Gibbs was probably the most impressive of all. He came on at half time for Cashley Cole and was probably England's best player in the second half, two moments of sheer bloody brilliance from Stephen Gerrard aside. As incredible as it sounds, Gibbs along with Stevie G., were the driving forces for England and I would even go so far as to say that it's unlikely that England would have won the match without them both.

As for Gerrard, after a mediocre first-half display in which he constantly seemed to give the ball away, he was magnificent in the second half. The thing I like about Gerrard is that he isn't a fair-weather player (metaphorically speaking). Most of the really top players are good when the team is playing well, but some struggle when the going gets tough. This is not the case with Gerrard. In fact he seems to play better when backs are against the wall (the 2005 Champions League final is another fine example of this). Let's hope he isn't as good on Sunday.

Theo Walcott put in a good evening's work and was probably England's best player in the first half before being replaced by Ashley Young at half time. He made some very lively runs with the ball, caused chaos in the opposition's defence and delivered the final ball when required - something he has been accused of not doing in the past.

Sometimes I feel that the criticism of Walcott is very harsh. Ashley Young didn't put in one successful cross or shot last night but was hailed as a success; whereas Theo often puts in good crosses which the forwards fail to convert and gets criticised for it. Hey-ho!

I said before the World Cup that Walcott, despite his obvious rough edges, could offer England far more than either Lennon or Wright-Phillips, and I wonder if Fabio Capello now regrets not taking him.

In case you need reminding of what Theo Walcott can do when he's on form, check out this earlier post from last week 

Jack Wilshere might have slightly mixed feelings about the match. According to the Press Association, he was detained in hospital on Tuesday night with stomach pains and only returned to the England team hotel at 5am on Wednesday. On the advice of doctors therefore, Capello only gave Jack ten minutes to impress, which wasn't really enough. On the plus side however, he made his full England debut and can be very pleased with his ten minutes overall. F*** it, scratch that, he made his England debut at only 18 years old and must be over the moon. Let's hope that he takes confidence from this and has a good performance against Liverpool on Sunday.

So all in all a good evening for Arsenal's English youngsters. I only hope that they keep their feet on the ground and that fraternising with a lot of overpaid, over-hyped, arrogant w*****s won't rub off on them.

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