Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere: I can lead a new generation

Teenage midfield star targets glory with England

Jack Wilshere wants to help England become a footballing force once again – starting with Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley.

The 19-year-old midfielder, voted as Arsenal’s player of the season last week, has joined up with Fabio Capello’s squad for the last senior game of the campaign.

And while Capello’s side endured a miserable summer at last year’s World Cup in South Africa, Wilshere is hoping to be part of a new generation that sees the Three Lions recover past glories.

“It has been hard after the World Cup for England, when it wasn’t good and everyone was getting on to them. It wouldn’t be a nice place to be,” admitted Wilshere.

“With the last few results since the World Cup we’ve picked it up, and playing for your country is everyone’s dream. It is certainly my dream. I’ve always wanted to do that. Every time I get in a provisional squad now, I am buzzing.

“Other players feel just the same as I do, especially the younger players — and to play with the experienced players that have been there and done it is great.”

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Wilshere made his senior England debut last August, in the same week he made his first Premier League start at Liverpool for the Gunners aged just 18.

He now has four caps, and with the last of them coming in the 2-0 win over Wales in Cardiff in England’s most recent qualifier, the PFA Young Player of the Year is hopeful of keeping his place.

With the Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard injured, Wilshere looks likely to start again at Wembley on Saturday, and believes that there are plenty more young players who can follow in his footsteps and break into the national side.

“Definitely there are players [coming through]. Josh McEachran [of Chelsea] is a great player. I hope next year he can break into the England team, like I did this year.

“There are players like Ashley Young, and Theo Walcott at Arsenal. He’s maturing really well. People say he didn’t really find the final ball this year but he’s been brilliant for us. He’s popped up with some goals.

“And there’s Andy Carroll. There’s [Jack] Rodwell, Adam Johnson, younger players like John Bostock [of Spurs] who haven’t really had their chance yet.”