9 Feb 2013

'He can be like Iniesta' - Redknapp warns 'reckless' star to change his game. Agree...?

Earlier this week, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insisted that Arsenal star Jack Wilshere could become one of the 'best players in the world', and after his excellent performance against Brazil on Wednesday, it's easy to see why Gerrard thinks that. Ex-Red Jamie Redknapp is also a big fan of Wilshere, but he's urged the 21-year old to cut out one particular aspect of his game.

In his column for the Daily Mail, Redknapp urged Wilshere to cut out the rash tackles that are a feature of his game, and warned that 'his career could be affected by serious injury if he doesn't change. Redknapp observed:

"I wish he [Wilshere] would stop [the crunching tackles]. Sometimes, he can be reckless. Sent off at Manchester United earlier in the season, he risks either injury or suspension in a tournament. I don't want to see him broken and some of his tackling scares me at times".

Crunching tackles seem to be a required part of an English midfielder's skillset, and I'm sure that most midfielders feel a sense of obligation to get stuck in, lest they be accused of not being 'committed' enough. On the international stage, however, where has England's long history of 'committed' tough-tackling football got them? Absolutely nowhere. The most successful international teams are those that prioritise passing, movement, technique, and a less physical approach to the game, with Spain being the most obvious example of this.

Spain's Andres Iniesta plays in a similar role to Wilshere, and Redknapp believes the Arsenal youngster should reject the traditional English approach to midfielder play and model himself on the Barcelona star. He noted:

"He can be England's Iniesta...but he needs to move away from that side of the game. The moment a player goes to ground with a tackle, he is out of the game. Iniesta nicks the ball, stays on his feet and then launches an attack – and Wilshere is very capable of that, too, but he seems to get excited and loves to dive in".

Iniesta is a good shout, but former Liverpool star Xabi Alonso is another player Wilshere should examine. The Spaniard is a genuine world-class midfielder, and he runs Spain's midfielder without constantly resorting to crunching tackles. Indeed, in an interview last year, Alonso outlined his thoughts on tackling, and he's clearly not a fan:

"I don't think tackling is a quality. It is something you have to resort to, not a characteristic of your game. At Liverpool I used to read the matchday programme and you'd read an interview with a lad from the youth team. They'd ask: age, heroes, strong points, etc. He'd reply: 'Shooting and tackling'. I can't get into my head that football development would educate tackling as a quality, something to learn, to teach, a characteristic of your play. How can that be a way of seeing the game? I just don't understand football in those terms. Tackling is a [last] resort, and you will need it, but it isn't a quality to aspire to, a definition. It's hard to change because it's so rooted in the English football culture, but I don't understand it."


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  1. I think he class, but he will cut out the tackles later on his only young.

  2. If you want to win you have to tackle. just look at the difference in Liverpool since Lucas has returned Allen can't tackle to save his life, we had the same with Adam, besides being useless he was reckless, even Spaniards tackle. If you had your way Jaimie the game would be boring.

  3. Shut it arry'. I pay your wages so focus on QPR.

    We're 2-0 down at half time and I'm running out of patience!

  4. Classy prospect. Got a bit of fire in him, which I think is what Arsenal need these days, but at international level, you got to keep in check. At international level, it isn't the be all and end all, nowhere near, to be able to get stuck in. Defensive shape is far more important. Too many times we see someone getting dragged towards the ball, to try and get a tackle in but a lot of the times it is either get a free kick & yellow card given against them or the opposing player evades the tackle and attacks the space the tackling player left. The refs at international level have less tolerance for those sort of fouls. We saw what happened with Gerrard and Riise in the friendly last year. There was no real need for him to go cavalier mode and go diving in. There was no immediate danger, all he needed to do was jockey Riise away. Its a last resort. For both in terms of team shape and the conservative international refereeing standards, don't go diving in unless there is no choice.

    I remember watching Parker at the Euros pressing the opposition....on his own. That makes the defensive shape of the midfield vulnerable as if the opposition gets past the pressing player, they either exploit the space directly or stretch the play. You have to press and harass as a unit, at international level. Otherwise, back off and keep tight. That is another thing that is dodgy to do at international level, as well as the tackling thing, to press on your own. Even though Brazil were shoddy in terms of team attacking play but in the second half, I thought England kept a good disciplined shape in midfield. Kept it tight in the middle. 

  5. Get rid of Allen (Not up to it), Shelvey (Nice lad but slower then me & I'm 53 AND I'm a better player then him), Skirtel to the Russian this month.
    £25 Mill all the above.
    Add £15 mill from this summer pot & pay Arsenal £40 mill for Wilshere & build the midfield around him & Lucas.

    He doe's'n't know how to tackle!

  7. Talking of Iniesta, anyone watch the game today? absolute class he has been. Even better than prior seasons!

  8. I was at the Brazil vs England game and have to say Wilshere played very well and from what I saw you have to give credit where it is due. He does make rash tackles but with experience thats something that will eventually change. Btw I know this is irrelevant but Neymar is tiny when he was coming against Glen Johnson.

  9. Its Jamie Redknapp not Arry...