Wilshere: I can’t win World Cup on my own
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Posted in World Cup/Qualifiers
By ANTONY KASTRINAKIS
JACK WILSHERE bossed Brazil in his first England start in 19 months but then said: “I can’t win the World Cup on my own.”
The Three Lions’ 21-year-old whizkid proved again that he has an old head on his young shoulders.
He ran rings around the Samba Boys but afterwards paid tribute to veterans Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard for giving him priceless advice and help on the pitch.
The Arsenal ace insisted he can cope with the pressure of carrying the expectations of an entire nation craving for success in Rio in 2014.
And he believes England do have the team to achieve greatness — even if one man cannot do it alone.
Wilshere said: “I don’t think one player can ever win a World Cup for a nation.
“Listen, I’ve got great players around me.
“We’ve got Steven Gerrard, who is still one of the best midfielders in the world, and Lamps who came on as a sub — and we’ve got good young players as well.
“When you are playing well and in the national team, there are always going to be high expectations. But you have to deal with that.”
Wilshere was given the man-of-the-match award for his performance in Wednesday night’s 2-1 Wembley win.
He set up Theo Walcott, whose shot was blocked by Julio Cesar before Wayne Rooney swept home the opener.
And he created a string of chances combining brilliantly with skipper Gerrard, 32, and Lamps, 34, who came on during the second half.
Wilshere added: “It’s great having them alongside me.
“I used to come to Wembley to watch them, so to play with them now is a dream come true.
“It’s testament to them that they keep doing it at their age. Ten years at the top is something I want to do, so I look up to them.”
Gerrard is a certainty to go to the World Cup — as long as England qualify, of course.
As for Lampard, question marks over his future at Chelsea and a possible move to America have raised fears about his international career.
Yet Wilshere is confident both England midfield stars will be there in 16 months’ time.
He said: “Stevie is probably the fittest guy in the team and Lamps came on and got a great goal.
“He has been doing that for years — and he keeps doing it.”
Wilshere believes England must stick with the 4-3-3 formation Roy Hodgson used against Brazil and consign 4-4-2 to history.
He said: “The formation helped. I prefer to play in a three rather than a 4-4-2 — 4-3-3 suits my game and suits the other players better, too.
“If we get that side right, we can dominate a midfield — and we showed that.
“We defended well and once we get the chance to go forward, we broke really well. And we’ve got pace with Theo and Wayne up front.
“We work hard on tactics. That’s what Roy does, he is great at that. He gets us working well defensively and going forward. If we can keep doing that and working on that, we can improve.
“We’ve got a good blend in midfield now with Stevie playing the holding role.
“He’s not really a holding midfielder but he did it brilliantly and he goes forward and then me or Tom Cleverley can cover him.
“There’s Michael Carrick as well and Leon Osman. We’ve got a good bunch of midfielders and hopefully that can bode well for England.”
Wednesday’s game was Wilshere’s first Wembley start since way back in June 2011, in a 2-2 European Championship qualifying draw with Switzerland.
A nightmare 17 months followed as the midfield ace struggled to overcome a series of persistent ankle injuries. Wilshere admitted: “It was great to be back out there after so long out.
“My last international start was at Wembley, so it was a good night for me personally.
“But I think the main thing tonight was the team.
“We defended so well as a team and we know what Brazil can bring. You have to concentrate the whole game and expect the unexpected with their players.
“They pegged us back once and we showed great character to come back.” Wilshere added: “It was a good night personally.
“It is always nice to play well and especially in front of our crowd at Wembley.
“There are always nerves before a game but there are great and experienced players there who will help you through.
“The skipper is our leader and talks to you the whole game and then we’ve got Lamps coming on who seems to have been doing it for the last 10 years.
“We’ve got a great blend of youth and experience and, hopefully, that can help us going into the qualifiers.”
Wilshere also praised his Arsenal pal Walcott who frightened Brazil’s defence with his pace.
Wilshere added: “We know what Theo can do. When defenders get isolated and he gets at them, they can’t live with him.
“That was the plan to give the ball to Theo and get him up against Brazil’s full-backs because we know they like going forward — but they don’t really like to defend.”