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Ex-England star backs Wilshere’s World Cup snub

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand has jumped to the defence of Gareth Southgate after his controversial decision to leave out Jack Wilshere from his World Cup squad.

Wilshere is one of England’s most naturally gifted players, and when the news broke that he was not part of the 23 man squad to lead the Three Lions into Russia a lot was said by fans and pundits.

The midfielder has struggled with injuries throughout his career, something that has stunted his development into a world class player. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that he is still a top player, certainly for England.

The 26-year-old was a fairly regular member of the Arsenal team last season, and looked like a shoe-in for the tournament. However, Southgate overlooked him, saying his form towards the end of the season dropped off.

Rio Ferdinand has backed the decision though, saying Southgate made the right call to leave out Wilshere – who hasn’t played for England since 2016.

“Why would you take him?,” said Ferdinand.

“I didn’t disagree with the midfield choices he took. He can count on all the others physically.

“I don’t think there’s an argument. He hasn’t played enough football and hasn’t influenced enough games in the way that those guys have over a sustained period of time.

“I’ve been there with teams where we’ve had players coming in a little bit unfit and it does leave uncertainty in a squad.

“Even with Wayne Rooney, Becks in 2002, it can destabilise a squad. However small it is it does spread.

“If you’re going to play him in an attacking midfield role he doesn’t add up to someone like Dele [Alli], someone like Jesse [Lingard], in terms of getting goals and assists or making things happen in the final third. His stats can’t live with them.

“Jack has got great talent, don’t get me wrong. But if he’s an attacking midfielder in today’s game he’s got to be nicking 10, 15 goals a season and likewise with assists. He doesn’t get those numbers.

“Is he going to play a holding role? That’s where I’d have played him but has he done that enough? Is he experienced in that position?

“Has he done that more effectively than Henderson this season? I wouldn’t say so. [Eric] Dier does it effectively for Spurs.”
[Quotes sourced via Metro]

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