Jack Wilshere: Oli Holt thinks midfielder is struggling for fitness

Last Updated: 21/11/13 5:52pm

The Mirror's Oliver Holt reckons Jack Wilshere's fitness could harm his chances of making England's World Cup squad.

Arsenal midfielder Wilshere suffered a stress fracture of the ankle in 2011 and subsequently endured 14 months on the sidelines, while he also underwent minor surgery over the summer.

The 21-year-old has been affected an ankle knock this season, too, and that, coupled with the form of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, has seen him unable to command a permanent place in the Gunners' starting line-up.

Wilshere played 71 minutes of England's friendly defeat to Chile at Wembley but Holt told the Sunday Supplement that if he does not return to the peak of health soon, Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson could have a big decision to make.

"If Wilshere is fully fit he is a shoo-in for Brazil - but picking a World Cup squad is down to things like that."

Oli Holt

"I am a massive fan of Wilshere and think he has the potential to be a really important player for England, especially when he plays further forward - but I don't think he is fully fit," said Holt.

"It is easy to forget how long he was out for and how bad his injury was and I think it will be a long process for him to fight his way back.

"It looks to me - though I may be totally wrong - that he is playing with a bit of pain and as he builds his way back he is going to be below what we thought.

"I hope he will get fitter and fitter and if he is fully fit he is a shoo-in for Brazil - but picking a World Cup squad is going to be down to things like that."

Courage

Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez made their England bows against Chile, and Holt gave a mixed appraisal of the South Coast star's performances during the 2-0 reverse.

England newbies Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez

Joe Hart, meanwhile, was rested, with Celtic's Fraser Forster given the nod between the sticks.

But the Independent's Sam Wallace is adamant that the Man City gloveman will play for England in Brazil, despite losing his spot to Costel Pantilimon at club level.

Holt said: "I was impressed with Lallana.

"It was a difficult game to come into with Chile quite adept in possession but he kept wanting the ball, tried to do things with it, chased back and showed a lot of courage

"I thought Rodriguez looked a bit short, though.

"He is clearly a fine player but it seems like the World Cup will be a tad too early for him after failing, for whatever reason, to really seize his opportunity."

"Hart may have made mistakes but he is better than the alternatives."

Sam Wallace

On Hart, Wallace added: "[Man City boss] Manuel Pellegrini has made his choice but Hodgson sees this very clearly and that in terms of technical ability Hart is by a distance England's best goalkeeper.

"It's no good praising him after he was superb against Brazil in the Maracana - where in the first half he stopped everything - if you don't then support him during the difficult times.

"Hart may have made mistakes but he is better than the alternatives."