Its Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away…

So said one cult superstar who was taken away from us too early. Now this article won’t be about teenage angst and suicide, but it will be about a teenager, career suicide and my angst towards the FA and its management.

Ever heard the one about the 24 year old who was playing in his 6th major international tournament? Nope me neither, but should the FA, Stuart Pearce and Fabio Capello (plus his successor) get their collective ways we will be talking about Jack Wilshere.

Wilshere has undoubtedly had a meteoric rise. From Arsenal reserve and Carling Cup star to integral Arsenal and England first teamer – the past two years have been remarkable. But this summer he looks set to star in his own drama between Arsenal and England.

With Wilshere now an established member of the England squad, Stuart Pearce has announced that he wants to take him to Denmark to play in the under 21 championships. Wilshere has announced he wants to go, but what does a 19 year old (who has already made his fair share of mistakes) know?

Where’s the harm I hear you ask? Well, few under 21s play close to 50 games for their club then turn out for their senior team and then go off to play in an under 21 tournament. Frankly, the boy needs rest, otherwise come Euro 2012 he’s going to be completely knackered – exactly when we need him at his best.

Even worse come Euro 2016 the youngster will be virtually burnt out. You see those at the top of the FA are obsessed with winning something, no matter what age level, no matter the cost. This combined with Stuart Pearce’s own belief that young players should “play as much football as possible” coupled with his own agenda to be the next England manager could see Wilshere play every summer for the next six years!

That’s right, he will certainly remain in the senior squad and he will also be eligible to play for England’s U21s until 2015 (when he will be 23). Clearly this is a ridiculous prospect, but if the argument to take Wilshere as a 19 year old stands, it will still stand when he’s 23, especially when those around him inevitably fail.

So let’s look at the arguments for Wilshere going:

1. It will develop him as a player

You have got to be kidding me. Wilshere plays for one of the best sides in England, he’s dominated the best teams in the premiership this season and matched the world’s best (maybe not at the nou camp, but you try playing next to Abou Diaby). This guy doesn’t need developing. If you want to develop a young English midfielder why not try Jordan Henderson, Henri Lansbury or maybe Josh McEachran – they would all benefit from playing in this tournament far more than Wilshere.

2. Germany’s under 21s won Euro 2009 and nearly won World Cup 2010

They did, but what’s forgotten is that in the very same tournament England lost to Germany in the final. How many of the England players went from u21 Euro 2009 to World Cup 2010? Two, Joe Hart and James Milner and how often did either of them play at the World Cup?

You see England don’t practice what they preach. When it came to picking the goalkeeper, did they go for the in-form keeper, a winner on penalties in a major international tournament or a major tournament novice with a handful of international caps? Yup you guessed it, the novice, Rob Green started in goal ahead of Joe Hart who had dragged that U21 team to the final the year before. I wont remind everyone of what happened. And when Gerrard’s fit I know I’m not the only person who wouldn’t be shocked to see Wilshere returned to the sub’s bench.

You see I’m not against Under 21 tournaments, for young players who don’t play week in week out for their clubs, or don’t play in major European club competition – I think they’re a great learning tool. That’s why I think Andy Carroll should go for example. But for the love of god if you have a player in the England senior team, a champions league team’s starting 11, give them a break. After all, when Euro 2012 ends in failure we’ll be told the players were tired because they’ve played too many games! Well don’t burden them with an unnecessary tournament!

And finally, why trust Stuart Pearce with our under 21s. Here is a man who once put a goalkeeper upfront!

Regardless of what Wilshere wants, give him the summer off and try unearthing a potential player who can partner him in future England teams.

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  1. El Tel says:

    After reading Jack’s comments in the paper yesterday that he won’t get burnout, this blog is quite timely. I think Jack and the FA are naieve to think that he’ll be able to continually play without a long break.
    As a future captain of England we ne need to keep him fresh and fit, especially with all our England players over 30, so it’s facical that he’ll be expected to play in so many tournaments.

  2. Arse for Life says:

    Players need protecting and what does a 19 year old know! I remember when I was 19, I thought I knew it all…have to be careful with special talents – the more ‘special’ you are, the more likely to self distruct.

  3. Stables kid says:

    Xavi has been averaging 50 games a season for the last 10 years and it hasn’t done him any harm. Seems like this is just a worry for Arsenal fans.

    • Godders says:

      Wilshere will have played 50+ games this season before the U21 tournament starts. And yes it has done Xavi damage he has an achilles injury which Barca have been nursing him through all season

      • Stables kid says:

        What so if Wilshere gets an achilles injury when he’s 31 it’s because he played too many games in his youth, really don’t understand that logic?

        I think people need to realise is not the be all and end all.

        • Godders says:

          Clearly playing continously without a break is how players get injuries like achilles tendons, wear and tear injuries, so there’s a clear logic to the argument that Wilshere should be given a rest this summer, having played 50+ games already.

          Why not take players who have no experience of big games and have played half the number of games. I dont see the point in putting a specific focus on making wilshere play when there are plenty of other creative young midfielders we could take who need to gain experience of big games.

          • Stables kid says:

            I take it your an Arsenal fan. We all want the best for our own players and to keep them protected but injuries will happen and some of these on international duty. The wider question has to be why not scrap international football altogether as it’s become a blight on the season. It’s dull its boring (as the tedious last WC showed) who cares?

  4. L Bowyer says:

    Loved it when my Pal Barry Ferguson told him he was gunno eat his future kids during the Carling Cup Final…. which he lost x

  5. Happy Goth says:

    Interesting post Godders, ur obviously a Devoted Gooner (or Jacks Mum)

    IMHO this kid is a professional footballer/proffesional athlete, with a legion of support staff, pandering to his every need, dioubt he even writes his own tweets… He’s also earning in a year (or soon will be) more than many mere year uk mortals will earn in a life time…

    I saw make the slightly overated young buck play x

  6. Pingback: The Under 21′s are Incredible « Feature Articles « Football Rascal | For the fans

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