How England Can Cope Without Jack Wilshere for World Cup Qualifiers

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04:  Jack Wilshere of England in action during the UEFA EURO 2012 group G qualifying match between England and Switzerland at Wembley Stadium on June 4, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Ever since breaking onto the international scene with England in 2010, Jack Wilshere has earned a reputation of being one of the faces of the future for the Three Lions. 

Unfortunately for England and Wilshere's club, Arsenal, the 21-year-old midfielder has also earned a reputation of being a player that gets injured often.

Wilshere missed the entire 2011-12 season for Arsenal and consequently the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine because of a recurring stress fracture injury to his ankle. 

For the UEFA World Cup qualifiers this week against San Marino and Montenegro, the Three Lions expected to have Wilshere in the starting lineup. 

However, that will not be the case as Wilshere is currently suffering from ankle issues once again (via Metro).

Many England fans as well as manager Roy Hodgson had high hopes about the potential Three Lions attack with Wilshere playing alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Theo Walcott. 

Luckily for everyone in the England camp, the injury blow to Wilshere will not effect their result in San Marino on Friday, but the injury to the Arsenal star could affect England's result on Tuesday when they visit Group H leaders Montenegro. 

We can all but assume that the Three Lions will cruise to victory in Serravalle on Friday against the bottom-feeders of Group H who have not scored in four qualifying matches. 

The match against Montenegro in Podgorica will be a difficult task for Hodgson's men, and the absence of Wilshere from the squad makes the task of earning a full three points just a bit harder. 

In four Group H matches, Montenegro have scored 12 goals, the same amount that England havescored, and they have scored five of them in their two home matches. 

While the England defense will have plenty of concerns about how to stop the Montenegro attack, the offensive-minded players will also have a tough task on Tuesday as they take on a defense that has conceded just twice in Group H play. 

Having Wilshere on the pitch as one of the main distributors in the midfield would have given England a strong threat to crack the code of the Montenegro back four. 

If Wilshere were healthy, he would have lined up somewhere in the center of the midfield alongside either Gerrard, Lampard or Tom Cleverley. 

Against Brazil at Wembley Stadium back in February, Wilshere showed why he is such a valuable player at both the club and international level, as he turned in a stunning display of talent against a Brazilian side that was full of flair. 

With Wilshere out of the lineup, Hodgson could make a few potential moves to tighten up his team's attacking play in the midfield. 

Hodgson could turn to the old guard of Gerrard and Lampard to provide plenty of stability and experience in the middle of the pitch during a big match. 

Both players have had successful seasons at the club level with Liverpool and Chelsea respectively, and they will not be phased by whatever type of environment they enter in Podgorica on Tuesday. 

Another pair of central midfielders that Hodgson could use is the Manchester United duo of Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley. 

Carrick has been one of the best midfielders in the EPL this season, and backing him to start in a crucial Group H match will be a decision that will get very little criticism. 

Cleverley may be the wild card in the group of midfielders chosen by Hodgson to make the week-long continental excursion into World Cup qualifying. 

There is no doubt that the 23-year-old has plenty of potential, and he is the player that will most likely partner Wilshere in the midfield in the long term for the Three Lions. 

With just seven national-team appearances to his name, Cleverley may not be handed a start against Montenegro but could easily find his way into the starting 11 for the San Marino match on Friday.

Starting Cleverley against San Marino would help the young star gain plenty of confidence in a competitive setting, Playing Cleverley on Friday would also let Lampard and Gerrard rest before the top-of-the-group showdown in Podgorica. 

All four of these players are excellent players, and filling the so-called void that Wilshere has left open in the starting 11 will not be a problem for Hodgson. 

While not having a player of Wilshere's magnitude will hurt the England lineup to a degree, the Three Lions have plenty of other capable players to slot into the midfield that will able to control the game in midfield and lead England to victory against both San Marino and Montenegro in the next week. 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.