When discussing what makes national teams successful, the Arsenal boss used his midfielder as an example of handling pressure and inspiring team-mates
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal star Jack Wilshere can have the same impact on England that the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini had on France.
The midfielder made his debut for the Three Lions as an 18-year-old in 2010, but a string of injuries has hampered his progression and restricted him to just nine further caps.
But with a full pre-season under his belt, Wilshere is expected to make strides this campaign and Wenger has compared his potential influence to that of the World Cup winners.
“National teams need a guy who absorbs this type of pressure and takes it,” Wenger told reporters. “We had Zidane. When the France team played well it was all Zidane, but the others could play.
“Before, we had Platini. In the history of the French national team, the results stop when Platini stops. And they stopped when Zidane stopped. You need a good generation but you also need one player.”
Wenger also feels Wilshere’s command, both physically and vocally, could see him draw comparisons with England’s historic skipper, Bobby Moore, adding: “Jack can take that, he is young, only 22. He has the characteristics to do that. But he needs to play six months without any problem.”
“He is not fazed by the importance of the game. He is not inhibited. Jack has the personality to be a top, top, top player.”
Mesut Ozil is expected to make his Arsenal debut on Saturday against Sunderland following his club-record £40 million switch from Real Madrid, and Wenger feels the addition of the German will only serve to benefit Wilshere’s progression.
He added: We all benefit from being with top-level people in our job.”