Wenger: Wilshere ready for England start

LONDON - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has never felt under any obligation to develop talent for England although in Jack Wilshere the Frenchman could have provided his adopted country with a midfielder to build a team around.

The 18-year-old was man-of-the-match on Tuesday after scoring the fourth goal in Arsenal's 5-1 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League at the Emirates Stadium.

Playing alongside Cesc Fabregas, Wilshere displayed all the attributes of a modern-day midfielder and his style bore the trademark of a player who has been schooled since a nine-year-old under the watchful eye of Wenger.

With doubts over the fitness of Chelsea's Frank Lampard and the international pedigree of Manchester City's workmanlike Gareth Barry, Wenger believes Wilshere could answer a variety of questions in Fabio Capello's England midfield.

"Is he ready to start for England against France next month? If you asked me the reverse question, is he not ready to start for England, then it would be difficult to not say no."


Wilshere made his England debut as a late substitute in a friendly against Hungary in August.

However, Capello is expected to start the midfielder against the French in the November 17 friendly at Wembley after attracting criticism for not bringing him on in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro which finished goalless last week.

"Jack has a good maturity level. You would never think he is only 18 from the way he plays," Wenger told reporters after Wilshere had scored his first Champions League goal.

"Wilshere plays football like he is playing with his mates. He has good technical ability.

"He's not a completely holding midfielder, he's more box-to-box than that. But to be honest, he can play in any position across the midfield, so it's up to us to give him time and to let him play."

Wilshere attracted the wrong headlines when he was sent off against Birmingham City on Saturday for a reckless tackle but Wenger said the player's reaction to that had been encouraging.

"He came out straight away and said "I deserved it, I was wrong" so that shows his maturity level. Sometimes boys of that age don't acknowledge that they're wrong so when he can see these things himself, it's very good news."