at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – The all-clear came from Arsene Wenger. Then Roy Hodgson. And then Jack Wilshere himself.
Wilshere’s appearance, after 61 minutes, would have made Arsenal boss Wenger wince as he walked on to a rutted pitch that was torn to shreds by the time he replaced Tom Cleverley.
It has been 17 months since his last England appearance, a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley. After that length of time, it was just good to see him back.
His first touch was a cushioned header to his feet and his next was a simple double-tap with his left foot before he was taken out on the touchline.
Hodgson spent some time with Wilshere at Arsenal’s training ground last month, talking him through his future plans for his evolving England team.
Wilshere wanted to be a part of it, given the incentive to play international football again as he came to the end of his exhaustive rehabilitation programme. Even Hodgson believed a friendly with Sweden would be too soon but Wilshere responded and was rewarded for his efforts in Stockholm’s Friends Arena.
He spent half an hour on the pitch, taking up his familiar left of centre position and looking every inch an accomplished international.
After 226 minutes back in the Arsenal team, he is also an England player again.
The future of this England team is focused on players with Wilshere’s ability. Simple, effective passes played into like-minded players in space.
Raheem Sterling, who was excellent on his first appearance for his country, will thrive in a team that has Wilshere whetting the appetite.
He is a refreshing player, adding another dimension to a team flooded with forward thinking players.
In three months’ time Wilshere will be first choice for club and country, in the starting XI for a friendly at Wembley with Brazil.
For now he is taking baby steps, returning to Arsenal overnight and reporting for training today to prepare for Saturday’s clash with Tottenham.
Wednesday’s appearance was short and sweet but at least he is in the clear. – Daily Mail