Jack Wilshere says England are planning for future with young squad
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 22/03/18 8:03am
England midfielder Jack Wilshere has played down World Cup expectations but believes this summer could be a stepping stone towards a brighter future for Gareth Southgate's inexperienced team.
The Arsenal player is hoping to win his first cap in nearly two years in warm-up friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy having regained his place in Arsene Wenger's team this season after a spell on loan at Bournemouth in 2016/17.
The squad Wilshere has rejoined has changed greatly from the one he first broke into as a promising 18-year-old in 2010, however.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane misses out through injury, leaving Southgate with a 27-man squad that is thin on players performing regularly in the Premier League.
"It's completely different. I remember the first time I walked into an England squad, I went for dinner the first time and there was [Wayne] Rooney, [Frank] Lampard, [Steven] Gerrard, [Rio] Ferdinand, [John] Terry - big players who I had watched growing up," said Wilshere.
"It's a different feel now. There are more young players, there's more of a group I think and there's more of a plan towards the future."
Wilshere was last included in an England squad in November 2016, when he was on the bench for games against Scotland and Spain.
His last appearance for his country came in what proved to be Roy Hodgson's last game in charge, with their 2-1 defeat to Iceland seeing them eliminated from Euro 2016.
England's U20 and U17 sides won their respective World Cups last year and although he sees cause for optimism, Wilshere is keen not to raise expectations too high for the next generation.
"The World Cup is a massive thing for us and we want to do well," he added.
There are more young players, there's more of a group I think and there's more of a plan towards the future.
"We don't want to set ourselves any targets but I think going through after the World Cup the group is in a good position
"If you look over the past years, especially Rio [before World Cup 2014], we were confident going into that and it didn't work out. And with this group of players, it wouldn't be fair."
Could you win the next Super 6 jackpot?
Enter your scoreline predictions now for next Saturday's round of the free-to-play game.