Jack Wilshere is seeking talks with manager over Arsene Wenger about where in the Arsenal midfield he will be played next season.
His eagerness for a chinwag spawns from the comments made by the Gunners boss in the aftermath of their 4-0 victory over a Singaporean XI yesterday, in which the Frenchman intimated many of his central players may find themselves stationed out wide.
“For me he can play in all the offensive positions,” said Wenger.
“Wide, central, and we have many good creative players. They will all tell you they want to play centrally. Unfortunately, some have to go wide as well.”
The use of the words ‘creative’ and, more importantly ‘offensive’ implies Wenger isn’t tempted to play Wilshere in front of the back four, as Roy Hodgson has done with a certain degree of success in recent England games.
Francis Coquelin is the current occupant of the role at Arsenal, leaving the 23-year-old vying with Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky for one of two advanced positions in the midfield.
An ankle injury (what else) restricted Wilshere to just 12 starts last time around, eight of which were in central midfield.
On one occasion he started the match behind the striker, while just twice was he tasked with playing out wide.
These instances on the wing occurred when Wenger was trying to ingratiate him back into the side following his near six-month layoff with said ankle injury, starting him in alien territory due to the superior form of his colleagues.
It was a fate even 2013/14 wonder boy Ramsey wasn’t immune from, with Cazorla and boss’ favourite Ozil flourishing in their playmaking capacities.
Lodging either of the latter pair seems unlikely given the strength with which they finished the season, while the former, it is assumed, has first dibs in the middle if one is forced to miss out.
It would seem a starting berth out wide, at least in the early months of the campaign, is in store for Wilshere then, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The solitary goal he bagged in those two games on the right equalled what he recorded over eight in the centre, while he only managed one more assist in his favoured position.
Arsenal’s style of play has no use for orthodox wingers, meaning he’d act as more of an attacking-midfielder interchanging with like-minded colleagues around opposition penalty boxes, not a player for whom beating full-backs and whipping in crosses is the bread and butter.
It’s a role not far removed from what would be expected of the England star were he playing in a central position and one in which there will be minimal pressure to deliver.