The man in the central midfield area does not score goals, does not create goals and he is not a tackler, in fact he rarely gets inside the box. Best example for this type midfielder is Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. Jack is 22 year old but has been a routine player for the Gunners since the age of 17. He first got recognition when he was 18 and single handedly dominated the whole Barcelona team from midfield at Emirates. Over the past few years we have seen this chap play in many different positions and also adapt in some of them. Let us study Jack’s playing style in depth, analyze the most suitable position for him and find out whether playing him in various positions is a tactical misuse or the right thing to do with him.
Wilshere is a player who likes to collect the ball and then pass it ahead or dribble past the opposition in order to create an empty space for the forwards or wingers. On an average a player who demands for the ball has 3 seconds to collect the pass and escalate it ahead. This is a wonderful display of Jack’s brilliant quick thinking abilities and excellent passing, his passing accuracy till now is 83% and 253 of his total 358 passes were distributed in the attacking third of the pitch. He is also a prolific dribbler who attempts more than 4 dribbles per game. He also likes to play long balls as he has delivered 40 long balls in just 9 games.
Defensively Jack is not very sound and barely attempts any tackles as till now he has made only 19 tackles in 9 games which computes to an average of less than 2.2 tackles per game. He has disciplinary issues and received 4 yellow cards till now and all were for bad tackles. He is also a short tempered man who gets provoked very easily, his contribution to the defense is very less or sometimes awful as he barely intercepts the ball, looses aerial duels and is bad tackler. On top of all these negativities he is an injury prone who is likely to get injured or catch a knock when played regularly.
Heat Map of Wilshere
Image Credits: Squawaka
Jack Wilshere is a very talented and a technically gifted midfielder whose comfort zone is central midfield area. He may not have vision like an eagle but has lion like instincts and has the potential to boss the opposition with the likes of his skills and passion.
As the above heat map shows Jack’s effectiveness is seen more in the attacking half and less in the defensive third. Wilshere is not a player who creates chances for the forwards with his passing but he provides luxury to his team mates by creating empty spaces for them with the likes of his dribbling and quick thinking. Playing or experimenting Wilshere in different positions will be a serious tactical misuse.
After considering every aspect we can land on a conclusion that Jack Wilshere will prove to be a very good pivot or a deep lying midfielder provided he gets the affluence from his fellow defensive midfielder to play a free role and orchestrate the team.