Jack Wilshere’s classy display at BATE Borisov showed Arsenal what they have been missing and England what they could be picking.
The Arsenal midfielder ran the show in Belarus on Thursday night, as Arsene Wenger’s men stormed to a 3-0 lead inside 25 minutes, before winning 4-2.
Wilshere showed a beautiful array of touch, movement and passes, as the Gunners overwhelmed their Europa League opponents, to top group H on six points.
Borisov had no answer to Wilshere’s deft skills, illustrated perfectly by his slick early one-two with Olivier Giroud, which allowed Jack to chip over for Theo Walcott to open the scoring.
This was Wilshere’s first European game for Arsenal since Anderlecht away in October 2014. His performance, after so many campaigns blighted by injury, was a joy to behold.
It gives Wenger fresh cause for thought, as Wilshere can now rival Granit Xhaka for Arsenal’s left-sided berth in midfield, or as competition to Mesut Ozil in a more attacking role.
England boss Gareth Southgate will have been pleased to see Wilshere’s level, albeit against wide-eyed opponents, given the lack of competition in England’s midfield.
Southgate’s squad to face Slovenia and Lithuania includes the likes of Fabian Delph and Jake Livermore, who lack the skill and guile of a fit Jack Wilshere.
With Dele Alli now suspended for the Lithuania match, Southgate could do worse than enquire if Wilshere would be available. If now is too early, Jack will surely be very much in Southgate’s plans for Russia 2018.