Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere needs to move abroad to kick-start his stuttering career for club and country, according to Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson.
England manager Gareth Southgate opted not to include Wilshere in his squad for the friendlies with Germany and Brazil, because he felt the player has not been utilised in his best position for Arsenal this season.
To win his place back with the international team, Wilshere – who has featured in just two league games so far this campaign – has to be playing more regularly and in a deeper role, and Merson says that may mean going abroad on loan.
“I don’t think Jack is a ten,” Merson told Sky Sports News. “I think he is a deeper player, but he is not playing deeper. You’d have to ask Arsene [Wenger] why that was.
Danny Higginbotham believes the England team facing Germany on Friday have a great opportunity to put themselves in contention for a World Cup spot
“He [Southgate] has called up Jack Cork, who I like and think is a good player, but Jack Wilshere has got to move.
“It is alright Arsene Wenger saying a fit Jack Wilshere gets in the England team, but you have to play for Arsenal. But at the same time, [Jesse] Lingard has started less games than Wilshere.
“The way he plays, I think going abroad probably suits him and his game, otherwise he is going to go to a relegation-battling team, and that is not his game.
“He needs to get on the ball and play football and be in a team that really are going to have a lot more of the ball than not. So probably abroad to an AC Milan or somewhere like that.”
Southgate will field a young and largely inexperienced team against Germany at Wembley on Friday night, with Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jordan Pickford set to make their England debuts, according to Sky sources.
However, Merson – who played 21 times for his country – is concerned the new boys could be scarred by a heavy defeat against the world champions.
“I’m pleased for him [Loftus-Cheek],” he said. “I like him, I am a big fan of his. I thought fair play for him to go to [Crystal] Palace and I am pleased he got in the team.
“He is a good player, good physique, gets around the pitch. It will be interesting, but I hope he does well as I do like him.
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“We have a few people making their debuts against one of the best teams in the world, so you just hope that they put on a good show.
“You do not want them to get set back – we go back a few years to Ryan Shawcross, who came up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and never played again for England.
“We have to be careful and look after these lads and not really judge them by this game.”