Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere proved again last night in the 6-0 win over Braga that, like his captain Cesc Fabregas, he has an old head on his young shoulders.
Anchoring the midfield with Alex Song, and cheekily (or accidentally) setting up a goal for Marouane Chamakh, it was hard to believe he is still just 18 years old.
His time at Bolton Wanderers under Owen Coyle has given him a tough exterior not expected of someone with his build, but he has kept all the finesse that he has shown from a young age at Arsenal.
He tackled with determination, and in the pass to Fabregas leading up to Carlos Vela’s second, he showed the kind of vision that you would expect from Xavi or Paul Scholes.
After the match he spoke about the teachers that he has around him.
“It is perfect playing with Cesc and Alex [Song] in midfield. Playing with people like Cesc Fábregas makes it easy for you," Wilshere said. "He will talk to you and talk you through games. You saw what Cesc could do against Braga, it is perfect for me to learn from him.”
Such humility shown from a young talent is impressive, and backs up claims that he was indeed the peacemaker in a recent fracas that he and his entourage were involved in.
This kind of form, in the highest level of club competition in the world, will surely force England under-21s manager Stuart Pierce to give him his starting role back, after he was dropped to the bench following the aforementioned bad news.
Not even Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had anticipated the amount of time that Wilshere has spent on the field, and it spoke volumes of his confidence, when, in the second-half, he chose to take off Alex Song and not Wilshere.
Wenger said this after the game.
“You need to have opinions sometimes, but you always have to have an open mind on players because you can never predict how quickly they develop.”
Arsenal and England fans will all be hoping that Wilshere continues this exciting rate of development.