Jack Wilshere should be in England World Cup squad, says Simon Francis
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 16/05/18 8:13pm
England boss Gareth Southgate should have taken a risk and included Jack Wilshere in his World Cup squad, according to Bournemouth captain Simon Francis.
Southgate named his 23-man squad on Wednesday and chose to omit Wilshere, who was also left off the five-man standby list for the upcoming tournament in Russia.
Wilshere fought his way back into the Arsenal first team this season after recovering from a leg fracture he sustained during his loan spell at Bournemouth in the 2016-17 campaign.
Francis believes Wilshere is the most technically gifted midfielder at Southgate's disposal and says the England boss has made an error in overlooking the Arsenal man.
"Playing with him first hand and seeing the ability that he possesses, I can't help but feel that England would need that," said Francis.
"They might have seen it as a risk but, for me, you have to take risks in international football.
"To be in that hole picking the ball up and looking to unlock defences at that level, there is nobody better really when they're fully fit than Jack Wilshere."
Francis understands the concerns over Wilshere's fitness but believes the Arsenal midfielder was a risk worth taking in Russia.
"You have to look at players and how much they've played over the season but I think Jack proved, especially at the back end of the season and into 2018, that he can have a really good run of games," said Francis.
"He did that for us. He had a really good run of games before picking up that injury away at Spurs, but he was crucial for us in staying up and finishing ninth that season.
"For sure he has the ability and sometimes you have to take risks."
Cherries midfielder Lewis Cook was one of five players named on the standby list by Southgate and Francis says his club team-mate will be delighted to among those considered for the squad.
"He has been in the form of his life. He's been an excellent player for us, maybe player of the season along with Nathan Ake," said Francis.
"It is great for him to be involved in the England set-up and even on standby. I think he will be delighted to be honest. It just means he's in the reckoning and if anyone does fall out through injury then he might get the call.
"Knowing Lewis like I know him, he'll be working hard to try and get into the next squad and if something comes up he'll be on standby."