World Cup - Hodgson heralds Wilshere return

Roy Hodgson hopes this will be the season where Jack Wilshere finally consigns his injury troubles to history.

PA Sport
World Cup - Hodgson heralds Wilshere return

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Jack Wilshere, left, is unlikely to play the entire 90 minutes for England on Wednesday

With much of the focus surrounding England's get together at St George's Park centring on Wayne Rooney, Wilshere's presence slipped by without much notice.

But make no mistake, the midfielder's return is big news for England, and Hodgson knows it.

The pressure on Wilshere's shoulders has been huge ever since he won his first cap aged 18, but England and Arsenal fans have only been treated to rare glimpses of the star thereafter.

A string of serious injuries have meant Wilshere has only started one game for the Three Lions since 2011. That one performance - a man-of-the-match display against Brazil - was enough to whet Hodgson's desire to see more, though, and he now hopes he will be able to count on the 21-year-old for the rest of England's World Cup qualifying campaign.

"I am really pleased he is back with us because he is a precocious talent," the England manager said. "His game against Brazil, where he got the man-of-the-match award, still lives long in the memory.

"He was fantastic throughout and I am rather hoping we will get some use from him in qualifying. Up to now he has only played the Brazil match and half a match against Sweden in my time as national team manager."

Arsenal are so aware of Wilshere's injury history that the player has not completed a full 90 minutes in pre-season, despite playing five of the club's seven games.

It is something that Hodgson is also conscious of, meaning the player is likely to only a limited part in Wednesday's friendly against Scotland at Wembley.

"Jack has looked good (in training) and he has been playing on quite a regular basis for a period of time now," Hodgson said. "He has been back in full training and playing a regular part in Arsenal's pre-season. We are delighted to have him back, but he is another player we want to protect a little bit."

If Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had his way, he would probably scrap the pre-season international fixture. And he would certainly not be the only manager to think that way.

The decision to play international fixtures a matter of days before the beginning of a new campaign often baffles many, but given that England face a hugely important double-header against Moldova and Ukraine in three weeks' time, Hodgson wants as many minutes with his squad as possible.

"It is the only preparation game I am going to have with the national team before we play in September. It's very helpful," the former Liverpool manager said.

"This happens to be the date FIFA have specified. It is not just England, it is the world. This is the date we have been given and the match is the one we have to play.

"If it falls kindly or unkindly for the Premier League that will have to be as it is. I need this game. I am hoping if we are sensible with the players they will be perfectly fit to play on Saturday and Sunday."

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