It’s all smiles at the training ground with the somewhat unbelievable news that West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has returned from a series of lengthy injuries to resume training for the Hammers – but have we now lost hope of ever seeing him pull on a claret and blue top again?
His return has come just in time for the season to end, but Jack is determined to play a role for West Ham in their remaining games, saying: ‘We still need to finish strong and push for that Europa League place,’ suggesting he may need his head, as well as his body, examined by specialists.
While it’s great to hear Wilshere has high hopes for the Hammers to make it to the continent, it would be easy for fans to have forgotten that he was even a West Ham player. The 27-year-old midfielder only signed for West Ham in the summer of 2018, but successive injuries have meant he’s played just five league games out of a potential 32 for the Irons. It’s a terrible return on investment for the club and the fans – but, equally it’s not a surprise.
The injury-prone midfielder drew comparisons with serial sick note Andy Carroll when he signed, and it didn’t take a fortune-teller to see that the two would spend most of the season tending to each other’s bandages in the treatment room. But what is so frustrating about Jack Wilshere isn’t just that he’s injured all the time and only played in a handful of games this season – it’s that he’s actually such a talented player, and to have him out injured constantly is such a frustrating waste of skill and experience, for fans and for the player. We needed him more than five times this season.
We needed him everytime we put out an uninspired and unmotivated midfield (here’s looking at you, Everton game.) We needed him while Lanzini was out injured, while Noble needed rest, when we had a team that could be torn apart from the centre. We needed him when Declan Rice could have used an experienced partner in midfield to feed off, and when we needed strong passes going forward.
We missed him when the team were standing still and desperate for a whimper of creativity and forward thinking to set foot on the pitch. It’s good news that Wilshere hasn’t given up and is determined to get back on the pitch, and to do so before the season ends.
So while we may have forgotten Wilshere is a West Ham player, it appears he did not forget – and if he’s determined to play again for the Hammers and get us as high as possible up the league table (even if Europe is pretty much off the table), then we should be determined to back him.
It’s easy to wallow in misery – but wouldn’t it be so much more fun to bask in success. Pull on a claret and blue shirt, and hurry back, Jack. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got to offer.