Steve Bould Says Man-Marking Could Accelerate Jack Wilshere's Arsenal Education

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    Steve Bould Says Man-Marking Could Accelerate Jack Wilshere's Arsenal Education

    Post by egzonn on Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:27 am

    Whoever said that Arsene Wenger does nothing for English football?

    The hype around Englishmen at Arsenal has begun to shift away from pacey winger Theo Walcott - who famously scored an international hat-trick for England against Croatia - and onto fluent playmaking midfielder Jack Wilshere.

    His rise to prominence has been quick, and with good reason. He can pick a pass, he is finely balanced and, although teams have tried to muscle him off the ball, Wilshere has stood strong. He has also been hailed - by Wenger himself - as a far superior dribbler to former prodigy Cesc Fabregas.

    His touch and technique are superb, and he knows where the net is. He enjoyed a good run in the Under-18s last campaign, a few games in the reserves, a good pre-season with the first team, and is currently reaping the rewards with fine outings while the club were in the League Cup.

    His talent has not gone unnoticed though as Arsenal youth coach Steve Bould reveals that he is constantly man-marked in Under-18 matches. This "special treatment", he says, will help groom him into better player.

    During a recent Under-18 match, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wilshere played in "the Bergkamp role;" a position just behind the striker linking midfield with attack, and was man-marked by Paul McCone.

    "The first half they man-marked him and made it very difficult," Bould explained to the club's official website.

    "The No 4 followed him everywhere and that’s probably a new regime for any English player - that just doesn’t happen anymore. It is great for him and his development.

    "I thought the last 20 minutes of the first half he really started to come into the game and then when Wolves changed their system in the second half I thought he was getting the ball in good areas and he looked dangerous all night."

    Bould continued: "It is great when we have him [in the U18s] as I think he needs some games because he doesn’t get a lot of minutes, [in the first team].

    "I think the games programme at the moment will suit him. We hope that the gaffer will develop him and he’s going to play in the first team.

    "He has made that step-up to the first team and he trains with them every day. He was with us yesterday and it’s the first time I’ve had him but that is the way we want it for him."

    Bould added: "He’s developing with the gaffer and he knows what he can do; he’ll play him when he’s ready."

    Wilshere, 17, became the club's youngest ever league debutent when he featured as a substitute during the Blackburn game in September aged 16 years and 256 days.

    He recently commited his long-term future to the North London club by signing a professional contract the day after his 17th birthday on January 2.

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