Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

Jack Wilshere

Of all the hype and wonder that is starting to envelop a 16year old kid who happens to play football, my absolute favorite is the name of a group on Facebook, "God created Jack Wilshere, because he was missing Liam Brady!" that to me is classic. Liam Brady was the greatest left foot ever to play for Arsenal or Ireland, he was a genius and has only been passed by DB10 as the greatest ever Arsenal player. Now after his first start, his first goal, and even before his first real contract, a boy from Hertfordshire is billed as the new Brady. So no pressure there then.
 
Like any fan of a football club, for more than a few years, I have seen it all before, the rise of the next big thing, Arsenal have had quite a few, Pennant, Boothroyd, Sidwell, Bentley, even players of longer back like Price, Robson and Petrovic who all turned out to be good average players but none "the next big thing, the superstar." And yet here we are once again, performing in a team full of promise is one outstanding potential gem, Jack Wilshere.
 
In the game against Sheffield  United, Vela was the outstanding player, he scored a hat-trick on his full debut, looked class, and sharp as a button, but paled into the shadows when compared to Jack, when you read the papers the next day, and subsequent days. Okay so Jack is English, Vela a Mexican, and that would explain a lot, but I have now read stories about Jack on just about every page and section of my daily newspapers, not just the sport and back pages. God only knows what will happen if Jack scores in the Premiership this season. I have even read articles about Jack going to the World Cup in 2010 as the answer to England's longest problem solution, the left side of midfield. Slow down people, give the boy a chance.
 
Being likened to a player like Brady is quite a compliment, but having seen him a few times now I can see it, he is so easy with the ball, ease of movement, fleet of foot, an eye for a pass not seen for quite some time, an eye for the wonder goal (check out YouTube), an air about him that sets the pulse beating that little bit faster, the nouse to make everything he does on the football pitch look ridiculously easy and simple, but, he is only a kid, and still so much can happen, can go wrong. 
 
For me JW is special, he has a magic, an air of expectation, an ease about him. Everything I read talks about his inner confidence and the level head beyond his tender years. People talking about him, or for him, are saying all the right things. Mr. Wenger speaks about him in an unusually positive and upbeat way, and so I am left to wonder, is Jack Wilshere another Cesc, Theo or Pennant? By that I mean, is he for today, maybe tomorrow, or never at all……

© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.