By Chris Wright
A week or so after proclaiming him to be the future of English football, the best young player in the known universe, the new (but slower) Claude Makelele and the saviour of everything that is good and holy, England manager Fabio Capello has ladled yet more crushing expectation onto Jack Wilshere’s young shoulders by directly comparing him to some of the greatest players to have ever graced the game.
So said Capello, after confirming that L’il Jack is to line up alongside captain Frank Lampard in the centre of England’s midfield against Denmark tonight:
“I know Wilshere is only 19, but I remember the best players I managed; Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Raul. They all started really young.
“It is the same talent, but people have to wait. [Wilshere] is young and needs experience in big games, like the Champions League and matches between the big teams in England.”
Capello also reiterated that he plans to mould Wilshere into a more conservative, ‘metronome-style’ midfielder on England’s run to Euro 2012:
“I know he prefers to go forward but an intelligent player can play anywhere. I used the example of Claude Makelele before, and Andrea Pirlo also started just behind the forward player but ended up playing in front of the back four.
“The thing is, he plays with confidence, never with fear, and other players have confidence in him.
“He is not playing for a team that’s trying to stay in the Premier League. It is Arsenal, second in the table. It is incredible for someone so young. A player like this has to stay with the seniors.”