Not many doubt his quality, but these might be a step too far.
Jack Wilshere is already two games and two defeats into life as a West Ham player. Good start then.
The 26-year-old was at a crossroads in his career before deciding to leave Arsenal for pastures new in East London.
A player with undoubted quality, injuries have always been the plague of the midfielder’s career.
Wilshere’s spellbinding talent, even at such a young age, excited us all so much that he was heralded as the saviour of English football.
The buzz around his early performances led to some fairly bold claims from pundits, fans and managers alike, as we all speculated about just how good Wilshere could become.
The hype train around the midfielder shows no signs of letting up.
Manuel Pellegrini is the latest in a long line of football people to make an eye-catching comment about the talented player.
Here are all the times when Wilshere was compared to world class players…
1 Andrea Pirlo – Manuel Pellegrini, 2018
We’ll start with the most recent of all the claims.
Wilshere’s latest manager Pellegrini is the culprit of this absolute howler, comparing him to everyone’s favourite bearded maestro, Pirlo.
The West Ham boss had been explaining how he might deploy Wilshere in a deeper-lying playmaker role, similar to the one which Pirlo thrived in during his twilight years.
“Pirlo is the same as Jack. He has the same characteristics as Jack,” clearly the Chilean had sunk a few before he said this.
Are you going to tell him, or should I?…
2 Lionel Messi (yes, we know) – Arsene Wenger, 2018
We’ll set the scene for you.
Wenger had just been let go by Arsenal and was clearly on the come-down from a mad double bender (we’re talking Sven AND Lars).
That’s the only possible explanation for why he came out with this…
“Jack Wilshere is a playmaker, a guy who is a bit of a Messi type,” yes, an actual quote from Wenger.
3 Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard – Xavi, 2015
Having been one of the best midfielders of his generation, I think it’s safe to say that Xavi knows a player when he sees one.
Even with all that considered, this claim was a particularly bold one from the Barcelona legend.
“I have played against him, I have watched him carefully. He can still go on and be one of the best midfield players in the world.
“For many years now the one position England have not struggled with is world-class midfield players. Scholes, and then more recently Lampard and Gerrard.
“Now I see Wilshere as the future of English football.”
4 Moussa Dembele – Pep Guardiola, 2017
Without a doubt the most modest of the comparisons so far.
It’s no surprise to see that it’s Pep Guardiola pulling out such a thought-provoking comparison.
“He has a special quality with the ball, dribbling as a holding midfielder to attack central defenders,” said a clearly smitten Pep in 2017.
“He’s a little bit like Dembele at Tottenham. They have quality to pass, pass, pass and then immediately destroy the defensive structures.”
When you close your eyes and think about them both, you do sort of see it.
5 Liam Brady – Martin Keown, 2018
Keown unsurprisingly stuck to his roots when he went about praising Wilshere.
“I think Jack is Arsenal’s best left-footer since Liam Brady, but injury has robbed him of much of his career.”
High-praise indeed from an Arsenal legend, especially when you consider some of the left-footers that the Gunners have had over the years.
Robin van Persie, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, to name just a few, all not as good as Wilshere… apparently.
Wilshere will make an emotional return to the Emirates when Arsenal face West Ham.
The Gunners must have been crazy to let go a Messi/Pirlo hybrid.
Super Jacky Wilshere.
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