England manager Roy Hodgson said that Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere deserved his place in England EURO 2016 campaign despite an injury-hit season, reasoning that he was a “special player”.
The 24-year-old finally made his season debut in the Gunners’ English Premier League match against Aston Villa on Sunday, and was included in Hodgson’s provisional 26-man squad.
Wilshere suffered a broken leg in pre-season and before being selected to start in Arsenal’s final game of the season, he had only made two substitute appearances.
But Hodgson feels 28-cap Wilshere deserves special dispensation due to his quality, and he will be given every chance to make it into the final 23, which is to be confirmed by May 31.
“He is there on merit, he is a special player. We don’t have lots and lots of Jack Wilsheres available,” Hodgson said.
“Most of his injuries have been trauma injuries. I am not worried about him. Obviously, I think he is a real quality player. He ticks all the boxes.
“I had to ask myself certain questions. Is he actually fit now? Yes, he is fit. I had to ask myself if he is the type of player who brings something different to the team, a player we do not have an abundance of? The answer was yes.
“The third question, well, at top-level competition, in the qualifiers, has he performed? Has he done the job for us? Has he been a very good player? I think three man-of-the-matches in a row would answer that one.
“So, really, to select him in a group of 26 was a very easy thing to do.
“Would I have liked him to have actually been playing week-in, week-out for the Arsenal? Of course I would. Would I have liked Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Eric Dier to have played a few less games, and Chris Smalling to have had a bit of a rest at some stage of the season? Yes, I would.
“For Wilshere, it is a bit different so he deserves the chance to show he is fit, capable of playing at the level he was playing for us in the autumn and I have got at least a couple of matches when I can test those things out as well as the training sessions.”