344 Comments

The Odd Cases Of Wilshere And Vela.

 

Just how good enough is good enough? At what point does a player become Arsenal quality?  Who decides whether he is world class or just a squad player? And are these judgements set in stone, or can a player move from one state to another? These questions are prompted by two things, the first being a vague conversation I became involved in yesterday about Jack Wilshere, the second in light of the reaction to the possible re-signing of Carols Vela.

I am fascinated by Jack for a whole variety of reasons, and it is possibly easiest just to list them.

  • He is only 22
  • He has on occasions been hailed as England and Arsenal’s saviour
  • He is capable of the most sublime football
  • There is a touch of the street fighter about him
  • He is a fans’ favourite
  • He scored the best team goal that anyone will ever see
  • Arsene Wenger has described him as one of the most talented young players he has ever worked with
  • He has spent the last three seasons either injured or returning from injury
  • He is no longer a favourite of all the fans and some don’t see him as an automatic starter either for The Arsenal, or, more strangely, for England

Not so long ago there would have been little debate about his quality, which would have been seen as top, top, or world class. He was our very own Superjack, and when much else in The Arsenal world was slightly rocky, that at least was certain. But now it would seem it isn’t, or at least it wasn’t to the person I was talking to yesterday, nor indeed to Stuart Pearce who pronounced that Jack wouldn’t kick a ball in the World Cup. I happen to think they are wrong, and maintain my belief that he is an outstanding talent, but the point of this post is not to argue his, or any other’s case (that can safely be left to Twitter and the comments section)but rather to explore what lies behind the judgments that are made about a player’s ability.

Clearly the proof of the pudding is in the playing, but often it is more than that, especially as only a very small number get to see players play for a full 90 minutes with their own eyes. For those that watch whole matches on the TV their view tends to be determined by the shots the cameramen choose to take, and by and large those shots follow the ball. If, say, a quarter of the value of a player to his team is what he does when he isn’t directly and immediately involved in the play, then it is clear that judgments are not based on the full story. Given that even more of those judgements are based on recorded highlights, and that those highlights rely heavily on editorial decision making, with all the bias that such selections inevitably entail, then we can see that most fans’ view of a player is already compromised. Throw into the mix the comments of pundits, who may or may not have an axe to grind (old allegiances run deep, and few past players are totally in love with their modern successors) and suddenly the claim that player X is not world class can be seen to be distorted.

The judgements become even more tainted of course when assessing the value of a transfer target, or when the player in question is being debated in the school yard (yes, I know school yards no longer exist, but what is a comment on football without an appropriate cliché), because then a kind of macho one-upmanship comes into play. Signing Vela is of absolutely no use to that kind of fan. He will not cost nearly enough money (anything under £25m these days is seen as a “Lol, poverty”), he does not come from a well-known club, he has already been dismissed as a failure once in his Arsenal lifetime, his YouTube videos are a little underwhelming, and perhaps most crucially of all, he isn’t talked about in reverential terms by those pundits who are persuaded to talk so glowingly by the agents they spend so much time with. If the dismissal of Vela can be accompanied with a sneering comment about Wenger dithering about in the bargain basement again then so much the better, especially if the twitterliverer of that comment can at the same time proclaim that only he properly understands just what players Arsenal need to even get top 4 again.

 

So Vela has no chance, and I suspect that a little like Giroud, even if he does come he will spend his life being criticised for what and who he is not , rather than celebrated for what he is and what he does offer. It apparently doesn’t matter that he has improved significantly, because whilst it is apparently fine to say that a player has regressed or hasn’t lived up to his potential, it is not allowed for anyone to improve. And it is that aspect that I find saddest of all, because I believe the biggest obstacle anyone can have to living their life successfully is to settle for a fixed and pessimistic mind-set. The whole basis of coaching is to help a player unlock his potential and find improvement, the whole point of training is to make progress from where you were yesterday. The best coaches dare to see the potential in players, the outstanding ones know how to help them unlock it. Choosing to adopt a growth mind-set is the most positive difference you can make to your life, whether you are a professional footballer, or gainfully employed in some other walk of life or simply waiting to leave school and to find a job that really suits you – or even, like me, just a student of the game.

 

If Vela returns he will be exciting, as will Balotelli (and the thought of him coming just makes me smile – I don’t think he will, but it would be kind of fun to see what happens if he does, and there is, in truth, only one manager on the planet who I would trust to get the best out of him).

 

Eighteen months ago, when Jack Wilshere was driving The Arsenal forward to a Third Round Cup victory over Swansea few would have imagined it was Aaron Ramsey who would make the most progress over the next year or so – but he did, and it was due to his courage and determination, but also to the unshakeable and visionary faith of his manager. I would not offer you any odds at all on Arsene Wenger helping Jack, or any of the others he chooses to sign, unleashing that potential too. And while this may well come back to haunt me, I do want to finish by saying that fitness permitting, I believe that Jack Wilshere will be as good a player as we have ever seen at The Emirates.

 

Today’s post was penned by  @foreverheady

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

344 comments on “The Odd Cases Of Wilshere And Vela.

  1. And looking like a one man team. If Neymar isn’t doing it, they don’t seem to have anything else to offer. Mexico look the most likely to score.

    Like

  2. Wow, this goalkeeper has been amazing tonight!

    Like

  3. If it wasn’t for the referee gifting them the first game Brazil would be in trouble of getting out of one of the weakest groups in the world cup.

    Like

  4. Gains
    There was one lovely scooped pass by JM played into the right hand side of the box.

    Ozil on the right, Goetze on the left either side of Muller (Arsenal almost made Pep pay for not starting him amongst any other errors that night, whatever they were, I felt the loss of Gibbs disturbed Arsenal’s momentum in that game as much as anything else). A slightly different set up for the German three in midfield? They are up to something. I think there are a few tweaks to the German formation as a result of the selections, and I’ve no idea what they are but it is interesting. With their squad even with the loss of Reus they can make changes if they feel like it. Might see something slightly different in one of the next two games if not both?

    Like

  5. the monies pouring in from buys backs are not bad! wow… some vision putting those causes in! LOL without actually being the ones transferring too…

    Like

  6. Whereas Brazil have Fred & Jo.

    And Paulinho. Who Seedorf just described on the BBC as “disappointing”.

    Like

  7. Remember the meltdowns this time last year when Levy began his famous splurge on Paulinho. The Groaners didn’t notice Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain waltz past the Tottenham man and others as he scored that screamer in Rio.

    No wonder Hodgson is desperate to get the Ox back. Although he played in CM that day he spent his few months at AFC being coached so he could play in midfield (whilst the Groaners were groaning, of course) and that’s why Hodgson was happy to start with Chamberlain on the left at the Euros I guess. Don’t think he’s happy with the Rooney or Sturridge option there, so he ignored Lallana (Ooops).

    Like

  8. Sad for Algeria. I am picking disappointment for overhyped “dark horse” Belgium full of individuals and egos, bar Vermaelen who should be playing ahead of either Vertonghen or van Buyten.

    Sad for Ghana too. They were so much better footballing a side that it is tragic they went down to Klinsie’s US, who played a determined but wholly uninteresting 80 mins, bar the first min and last 10.

    Brazil are definitely looking shaky, though the man of the batch was Ochoa–terrific keeping. I expected Mexico to get out of the group–they are actually a good team. Brazil just has no one besides Neymar they can rely on. Oscar started out excellent in the first half but faded in the second. No striker. If Pato weren’t dissipating his talent he could help them a lot. Jo? Fred? This is Brazil for goodness sakes!

    Despite the recent stringof nil nils, this has been the best WC first round of games I can remember!

    Like

  9. Best performances after the first round of group games: Holland, Germany, Columbia, France.

    Honorable mentions: Mexico, Ghana, Chile, Italy

    Like

  10. Well the fixtures are out and although the world game is barely into the second group games we can already look forward to the new season. With Palace at home up first and city, toffees and spuds all in the first six its a difficult start, one the doomers will be rubbing their hands at. If you then look at November, February and the last ten again the fixtures aren’t exactly lined up for us. Our usual first bogie month November doesn’t look to bad with the visit of new lads Burnley and manure and away to the swans and the baggies the main thing to look at will be the way the CL games fall with manure not included. Next up worth looking at is our usually bad February and is one worth being concerned with. Starting with a trip to the spuds and finishing with a trip to Goodison, two games we struggle to take maximum points from, we also have to go to palace and deal with a F.A.cup game oh …AND LEICESTER. The final ten games include pool, chelski and hard away trips to Burnley, Newcastle and Manure. Again you may have to include important Cup fixtures within that time as well. Obviously I’m looking at these fixtures way in advance and going into a group of fixtures always look better if you’re playing well have no injuries and the opposition is playing crap oh and luck and the refs are playing with you but hay at least we can take our eye off all the transfer shit for five minutes.

    Like

  11. this from Walid Arsenal ‏@1Walid1 · 2m
    CL (Qual)
    Everton A
    CL (Qual)
    Leicester A
    CL
    Villa A
    CL
    Chelsea A
    CL
    Sunderland A
    CL
    Swansea A
    CL
    West Brom A
    CL
    Newcastle H
    TYPICAL!

    Like

  12. we have campbell a_or_b…we fear nothing !!

    Like

  13. baloteli and arteta will get on well……baloteli and schezhny…lol…

    Like

  14. martinez lavezzi baloteli…..hahaaaaa…… and then casillas pirlo and suarez

    Like

  15. then reus draxler and bender and were set

    Like

  16. Thanks A_or_B, that list was not predictable, not at all.

    “it’s a funny old game.”

    UTA.

    Like

  17. Hunter you forgot the Mexican ‘keeper and yesterday’s flavour of the month, Tutti Frutti, the Italian* LB.

    Help, where’s my coat?

    Like

  18. my friend i have won premiership titles with ochoa in fm..i know him well….he is not a flavour a month… bodmer palombo rafinha ansaldi guardado give titles in any fm between 07-11. amazing stats all of them.

    Like

  19. the last one i played was fm12 and hence i dont know all these new guys..bender aurier etc..havent done the required tests yet…. gosh i wish i were a student and play those beloved 48-72 hr sessions with pizza sticking on the carpet and a desk full of ashtrays and coca colas. no sunlight.

    Like

  20. just the screen flashing…..GOAL

    FM , CM …burning peoples brains since 1992…

    Like

  21. Brazil looked like a slightly shittier Chelsea. Crap striker? Check. Sacrifice a creative player in favor of three defence minded midfielders? Check. Sideshow Bob making an absolute tit of himself while his CB partner cleans up for him? Check. Even their subs looked like something Mou would do. Bernard for Ramires was an awful substitution. It freed Mexico’s fullbacks and they got pinned back until about the sixty fith minute of the second half.

    Like

  22. hunter, I once read that football/championship manager has been used in court during some divorce hearings…hahahaha!

    Like

  23. Yup.
    Brazil are the Chelski of international football.
    Man City paid £18M for Jo in 2008, so what’s that after football inflation is applied for a 2014 fee? £25/30M? More? Holy flamin’ footballs. No need to comment further (His agent is Kia the Well Dodge).

    If Jo’s the back up to Fred…they’re better off dropping both!

    There are those who say that (certain) agents select a fair few players for national teams. There is some evidence to support that consideration.

    Like

  24. If Brazil win this W/C it will be a footballing travesty. From front to back this is a team emphasizing athleticism over talent. The few exceptions like Neymar, Alves and Silva stick out like a sore thumb. It is now obvious the key to stopping Brazil is to stop Neymar. Big Phil is nothing more than a cartoon figure waving imaginary yellow cards rather than a coach who can coax team work out of a bunch of individuals. His failure at Chelsea was no accident.

    They remain the favorites although it seems the supporters at home are not convinced and it was obvious that they were booing at the prospect of the ineffective Fred being replaced by theequally underwhelming Jo. For the good of football I hope they crash and burn.

    Like

  25. Fins: I see both of us were thinking of the clowns Fred and Jo at about the same time. You are entirely right; Brazil are like Chelsea especially as they both rely on the counter-attack rather than being proactive.

    Like

  26. It would be nice to see Mertesacker & Ozil lift the World Cup.
    Podolski looks like the back up CF to Muller, though he may come on to the left if they are chasing a game.

    The German Gunners have had a big impact at the club and it would be nice to see them get an even bigger reward for their efforts, blowing away the gr*t leftover by the F Word even though some Arsenal fans have spent that time in some kind of mob scale delusion, which might explain how these self-declared experts missed noticing the massive two year long rebuild of the team around Mertesacker and Arteta.

    Like

  27. Shotta, Gains sums it all up above @12.13 very well.

    Must be painful viewing for old skool Brazilian football nutters/legends/fans. Maicon still in the squad? Really?

    In defence of some of the players that squad are playing are under a lot of pressure, we’ve seen how excessive pressure from all directions can have an adverse effect on a team. Fortunately the Arsenal managed to beat Probert & Hull in the end!

    Like

  28. @ arse_or_brain June 18, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Yeah, in no way predictable at all. I can’t believe that that is just the way the dice fall – every year.

    Like

  29. Imagine Romario’s reaction as Jo screwed that shot wide. I feel his pain.

    Like

  30. finsbury
    June 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    oh yeah….like the times when adrianna and jessie and katherine would say “come out you guys , were going to king size (night club) ” and the responce would be ” but…honey…we have qualified for the champions league final with fiorentina and were playing bayern”…. “what?” …. ” chris tell them to get the fuck out we got business here..no distractions”… we obviously regret that 15 years later but if we had the chance to do it again…would we do it any different? would we really? ……hard to tell…

    Like

  31. I feel sad for the people of Brazil. Saddled with huge expenses for stadiums that were supposed to be privately financed, none of the public infrastructure and transport improvements promised, a protest over geoeing social inequalities that has been sidelined for a big party at their expense by corrypt politicians who sold thrm out to FiFA, and a team without flair that might go out to the first strong team. My prediction that they will win is looking shaky and somewhat unwholesome!

    I think Oscar is skillful but this is like a Chelsea team. Not the beautiful game. I disagree about Tamires though. Awful on the wing and Betnard is at lead creative in attack which Bradil rather desperately need. If their central mids were better passers, things might be different and if they had a skillful striker–Pato is missed.

    Like

  32. hunter @ 12.55

    *coughs*
    No comment.

    Like

  33. finsbury
    June 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    none finer than gekas mate ..muahah

    2 yards with open goal…header…BANG…crossbar…legend..one of a kind.

    Like

  34. Limey

    As Gains once attempted to explain to the shrill naysayers elsewhere Pato had serious injury trials, and as with many players it’s had a big effect on him. I think that’s why Brazil were so desperate to get Sir Costalot (in homage to J.Pearce!) to play for them and not Spain, even though he is a “Chelsea” striker, nothing to go crazy about., But when Fred and Jo are your other options (surely there have to be more…?), then I guess you drop them and you play Coutinho (not in the squad: needs Maicon’s agent!) behnd Neymar? Anything but them!

    France won the WC with Guivarch, but they had a young Henry scoring from the wide forward position (as with Theo we can see a trend of young quick forwards cut their teeth in the wide forward roles…) and some blokes called Zidane, Thuram etc. in their team.

    Like

  35. thank you gekas..we thank you very much….you fucking useless bastard..wtf is he even doing there? where is mitrogoal ? mua…

    Like

  36. i forgot ..honorable mention goes to miguel veloso who has assisted greatly in winning the title in three different countries…epl, laliga and serie a….big game player…not so much in real life but who cares…fm is bigger than life…. c’est supreme..

    Like

  37. and what about manu ginobili and gregg popovic…5th title in 15 years…. wow..any minute they might catch mighty pana with 6 euro titles in 18 years..muaaaahaha.. bring tony parker to athens!!! it will only cost 70million dollars….fuck the crisis..its glory we are after…

    Like

  38. At last a new post has arrived.

    Like

  39. France won the WC with Guivarch

    and some other poor bastards like djerkof djorkaef or something..and a tall guy ..variner..vareia ..cant remember….

    Like

  40. Oh my, Shotta, you saw Scolari flailing too?

    Shotta, if it wasn’t for Rivaldo diving his way to winning the 2002 world cup, Felipão would get the same treatment which was given to Dunga when he picked his European team.

    By the way, I was a big proponent of Luiz Gustavo’s last season, but now I think he’s worse than crap.

    And what is Paulinho good at? He can’t hold, he doesn’t create and he doesn’t get forward.

    Like

  41. You guys won’t have heard Phil Neville’s commentary last night:

    “Too many short passes. Not direct enough”

    i.e. They don’t like it up ’em, get it the mixer, etc. the Norvan Gr*tball that Moyes attempted to eulogise after his 0-0 draw in N5 as his time at Everton drew to a close (with no shortage of celebrations from the Everton fans, those who love their football!).

    I really hope Phil Neville is still coaching at Utd! Poor old Judas eh? Last year must have been fun for him. Mwahahahahahaha.

    Like

  42. Rio Ferdinand:
    “Busquet’s turned to me during the game and said ‘Man Utd? Long ball meh. Haha!’.
    It killed me.”

    Like

  43. Fin, I always thought Pato was crap, but the realists thought he was much, much better than Theo.

    Like

  44. Yeah, there was that too! Injury strife and most probably not that great: obviously a worthy replacement for proven twenty goal and ten plus assist machine like Walcott.

    Like

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: