So here we are in the midst of another interlull, just when we didn’t need it.
I say ‘just when we didn’t need it’, but I’m pretty sure I say that every time one rears its ugly head. And who knows – after shipping four goals on Saturday, maybe a week away blasting the cobwebs away with international football is precisely what is required.
Don’t confuse this for a dislike of my national team – far from it. When push comes to shove I am a fervent England fan. I just see how they play (for the most part), and I see how Arsenal play (for the most part), and I know what I prefer.
For some years, it’s also been a case of there being little Arsenal interest too. Under George Graham we had an overflow of England players. Under Wenger, once the old guard left, it was the opposite. But Arsenal – and Wenger of course – can rightly be proud that once again we are contributing to the national side.
This squad has Walcott and Wilshere in it, but Gibbs is another recently capped England international, and there are a few others – Lansbury being one – who may yet also make the grade.
Both Walcott and Wilshere have good reason to be desperate to play in this one. Walcott was ditched for the World Cup finals (a blessing for us, ditto Nasri though they no doubt were devastated), so he will be keen to show Capello the error of his ways. He doesn’t need to convince me. Despite having the typical winger trait of drifting in and out of games, he has improved immeasurably this season and has scored eleven goals despite having a stretch out crocked (’twas ever thus).
Wilshere is the real story though. An ever-present for Arsenal this season, he possesses skills that cannot be taught, a determination that cannot be bottled (though a swig of that, if it could be, would have gone down a treat on about 50 minutes at St James’ Park) and a vision sadly lacking in many English youngsters. He’s the real McWilshere.
He is also the ultimate vindication of Wenger’s ITAGETWPROTP policy (‘If they are good enough, they will play regardless of their passport’). He’s an England fixture now and he deserves it. Let’s hope he can be the midfield fulcrum.
Naturally, we want them all back in one piece, but at the same time I can’t wait to see them pit their wits against Denmark, just as I look forward to Bendtner doing the same.