Euro Whites: Jack Wilshere

Following England's exit from Euro 2016, profile a former Wanderers loanee who represented the Three Lions out in France

Following England's disappointing exit from Euro 2016 last week, profile a former Wanderers loanee who was a member of Roy Hodgson's Three Lions squad out in France.

ENGLAND (2010 - Present)
Caps: 34
Goals: 2

European Championships: 1 (Euro 2016)
Best Stage Reached: Round-of-16 

Tournament Appearances: 3
Tournament Goals: 0

Having missed the majority of the 2015/16 season through injury, Jack Wilshere endured a tournament to forget as England exited Euro 2016 at the round-of-16 after suffering a shock defeat to Iceland.

Fighting off competition from newly-crowned Premier League champions Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, the midfielder was one of the names up for discussion amongst supporters when Roy Hodgson named his squad prior to the tournament.

Initially starting his youth development with Luton Town, the 24-year-old joined Arsenal’s academy at the age of nine.

Progressing through their youth set-up, he made his Gunners debut against Blackburn Rovers as a late substitute in September 2008, becoming their youngest league debutant in the process at the age of 16 years and 256 days.

Handed his home debut and first start later that month, Wilshere marked the occasion with a goal as Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners over Sheffield United.

Following sporadic appearances over the next 18 months, he joined Bolton Wanderers on loan in January 2010.

Making 14 appearances during his time at the Reebok Stadium, scoring one goal, the midfielder impressed during his half-season stay and was handed his senior England debut against Hungary at the start of the following season after the Three Lions’ disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign. 

Going on to cement his place in the Arsenal side, he made his competitive international debut against Wales the following March as England recorded a 2-0 victory in a Euro 2012 qualifier and lift the PFA Young Player of the Season award at the end of the campaign. 

However, injury would see Wilshere miss the entire 2011/12 campaign as well as Euro 2012 as England suffered a quarter-final exit to Italy on penalties.

Returning to action for Arsenal in October 2012 having missed the start of England’s 2014 World Cup qualification campaign, the midfielder was recalled the following month as he turned out in the Three Lions’ last fixture of the calendar year away against Sweden.

Another injury saw him miss the March international break, but he returned to feature in England’s final four qualifiers as well as all five of their friendlies leading up to the tournament in Brazil.

Heading to the tournament after lifting the FA Cup with Arsenal, Wilshere came off the bench as England opened their campaign with a 2-1 defeat against Italy in what would prove to be a disappointing tournament for Hodgson’s side.

Unused as they were eliminated from the tournament after another 2-1 loss, this time at the hands of Uruguay, the midfielder started England’s final group game as they drew 0-0 with Costa Rica to finish bottom of their group.

Starting all four of the Three Lions’ opening Euro 2016 qualifiers, another injury picked up in November 2014 would see Wilshere sidelined until May.

Returning in time to help Arsenal again lift the FA Cup, Wilshere’s return to fitness saw him recalled by England for their end of season internationals, with him going on to net a brace for his first international goals in a 3-2 qualifying victory over Slovenia.

However, a hairline crack in his calf-bone picked up in pre-season saw him miss the remainder of England’s qualifying campaign as they secured their place in France with a 100% winning record, as well as the majority of the 2015/16 campaign.

Limited to just one start and three appearances in total for Arsenal after returning in May, eyebrows were raised by supporters as Wilshere was still named in Hodgson’s provisional England squad for Euro 2016.

However, he proved his fitness as he featured in all three of the Three Lions’ warm-up matches as they flew out to Euro 2016 off the back of three successive wins against Turkey, Australia and Portugal.

Brought on as a substitute in England’s opening match, the midfielder was unable to stop the Three Lions from dropping points as a last-minute equaliser saw them open their Euro 2016 campaign with a 1-1 draw against Russia.

Unused for their next outing as they clinched a last-gasp victory over Wales, he started their final group game as a 0-0 draw with Slovakia secured England’s place in the knockout stages.

Facing off against Iceland in the round-of-16, he was brought on as a half-time substitute with England surprising trailing against one of the tournament’s minnows.

But he was unable to inspire a comeback as England suffered an embarrassing exit from the competition, costing Hodgson his job in the process.

Hoping to now put his injury woes of the past behind him, Wilshere will be looking to bounce back for both club and country during 2016/17 as he looks to re-establish him as one of the first names on the teamsheet for both Arsenal and England.

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