JAMIE REDKNAPP: Don't burn out player who can be England's Xavi

20 May 2011 06:36
ShareI was the captain of the England Under 21 team, player of the tournament in Toulon when we won the prestigious event. In many ways, playing for the Young England side made me believe I could be someone.

The difference with Jack Wilshere is that he already is someone. I should say here that I understand why Stuart Pearce wants him in the squad. He wants results, to win the competition and to have his best players giving him the best chance of achieving that.

Heading for the top: Redknapp playingfor England Under 21s in 1993

I also understand the argument presented by people like Sir Trevor Brooking, who say that the experience of winning football and competition football at international level will help the development of a young England player.

But Wilshere is a different case. Wilshere is special and should be treated as such. I agree with Arsene Wenger, this is a risk to his long- term progress and he shouldn't be playing this summer.

He should be on a holiday, somewhere warm and remote. With his feet up and preparing for next season, for Champions League football and a European Championship with the senior side at the end of it. That should be his path.

How long have we been watching Spain, eyeing up Iniesta and Xavi and saying loudly: 'Why can't we have a player like that?' Well, now we have one. Wilshere can be our little playmaster, like a Xavi or an Iniesta.

But, look, we have to nurture him, give him time to rest and grow and not overplay him. I know there will be players from another age saying: 'When we were lads, we could play every week . . . he should play, it's England.'

On the ball: Wilshere (left) can be a little playmaster like Xavi (right)

Nobody was prouder to play for England than me. I loved it. The senior team, the Under 21 team. Pulling on that shirt gave me a great sense of pride and achievement.

I even played for the Under 21s when I was 23, as an over-aged player, under Glenn Hoddle who wanted me to try out as a sweeper.

The game has changed. It is faster, more demanding. The Champions League challenges fitness, as well as ability. And Wilshere has been a first-choice regular for Arsenal this season.

When I was a regular with the Under 21s, I was only a squad player at Liverpool, so it was a chance to play and to show what I could do. I loved it.

This young man has a huge future, but he will find this summer tournament a frustration.

With all due respect, he will be playing with inferior players, against inferior players. He might be targeted and he will have to deal with that.

I get that he wants to play and I respect his passion, but maybe he won't realise the demands on his body and this is where others have to take care of him and see the wider picture.

We have waited for some time for a player of his natural ability and touch. Now we have to make sure we look after him and I'm not sure playing for the Under 21s this summer is doing that.

 Is Jack Wilshere is danger of burnout after a busy season?You'll ruin Jack! England Under 21 call risks Wilshere's health, warns WengerWenger loses club versus country fight as Wilshere heads to Euro U21 championships

 Explore more:People: Jack Wilshere, Xavi, Stuart Pearce, Trevor Brooking Places: Liverpool, Spain, United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail

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