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Jack Wilshere's Arsenal Form Will Lift England to World Cup Glory

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Jack Wilshere of Arsenal is challenged by Billy Jones of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on October 6, 2013 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Greg JohnsonSpecial to Bleacher ReportJanuary 2, 2017

At the Emirates stadium they call him Super Jack, and while his midfield partner Aaron Ramsey may have outshone Wilshere recently, it was the 21-year-old Englishman who popped up with a goal to save the day and clinch a hard-fought draw against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager directs his players on during UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal FC and SSC Napoli at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Im
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Since the departure of Cesc Fabregas, Wilshere has made his name as a decisive and prodigious match-winner on the field for Arsenal, showing determination and leadership skills far beyond his age.

Having opened his account for the season and quickly defused any lingering controversy over his public midweek smoking misadventure, the young midfielder's form is only likely to improve as Arsene Wenger plots to bring home the Premier League trophy for the first time in 10 years.

Speaking about Wilshere's contribution to the 1-1 draw against West Brom, Wenger told the assembled press, per Stuart James of The Guardian:

"I think he learns very quickly and what is more important for England and Arsenal is that he shows the right response on the pitch."

Roy Hodgson will no doubt be hoping that the midfielder is eager to continue to impress as he heads off into the international break to join up with the national squad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  England manager Roy Hodgson speaks during a press conference following the announcement of the England U21 and Senior squads at Wembley Stadium on October 3, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

Should Super Jack be able to transfer his emerging club form into his performances in an England shirt, he can be Hodgson's superhero the World Cup in Brazil this summer, but much will depend, as Wenger noted, on how well he reacts to adversity.

The England national squad and its journeys to tournaments are the preferred hunting ground for salacious football exposes by the tabloid media. As the likely inheritor of the nation's messiah complex, Wilshere will need to be able to remove himself mentally from the background noise if not literally, judging by how dogged and tenacious the press' pursuit of their targets can be.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12:  Wayne Rooney captain of England battles for the ball with Christian Brolli of San Marino during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group H qualifying match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium on October 12, 2012 in London
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Previous incumbents of English football's mandatory role as saviour include Wayne Rooney, who it's fair to say didn't cope well with the increased scrutiny on his private life and the resulting pressure piled on by its coverage.

While Wilshere is yet to become a press pariah on the same scale as United's divisive star, he has to be careful not to pack too many skeletons into his closet.

After all, if he can ignore the headline hunters and focus on his game at international level, he will be vital to lifting England into the latter stages of the 2014 World Cup.

Considering how poor Hodgson's performed against Ukraine, bypassing the midfield battle with outmoded long-ball tactics, Wilshere's dynamism back-and-forth down the team's spine could allow for a far more astute approach at the tournament proper.

Wenger has long demanded his prodigy ally his passing ability and eye for goal with a greater understanding of the game, tactical discipline and maturity when in possession. Earlier in his development, the Arsenal manager even forced Wilshere to undertake an apprenticeship of sorts as the team's defensive midfielder in order for him to learn such important lessons.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger talks to Jack Wilshere during a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against FC Bayern Muenchen at London Colney on February 18, 2013 in St Alban
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

For England, his education should benefit those around him too, taking some of the responsibility of running the game and creating chances from Rooney and giving his teammates the confidence to use his impressive touch and technique when under pressure.

With or without Wilshere, Hodgson's team are rank outsiders to lift the ultimate prize in Brazil, but if selected for the World Cup squad, the Arsenal midfielder will be a player able to make major contributions toward firing England deep into the knockout rounds of the tournament.

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