Jack Wilshere says his spell on loan at Bournemouth last season helped him improve ‘massively’ on the defensive front and admits he’s now more likely to pick and choose when he dives into tackles and makes dribbles forward.
Despite a history of impact injuries, the England international has previously said that he wouldn’t alter his combative style of play – he’s known for tight control, wriggling away from opponents in tight spaces and the occasional lunge – however, with age it appears he’s been more open to adapting his game.
The 25-year-old midfielder has had to bide his time at the Emirates this season but looks set to start his third consecutive Premier League game when Liverpool visit the Emirates this evening.
“Obviously, I heard the boss [Arsene Wenger] speak about it, but I feel like it comes with age,” Wilshere told the Evening Standard.
“I picked up a lot of injuries over the years. When I used to watch my game, every time I picked the ball up I wanted to run with it, I wanted to hurt the opposition, but now I can pick my times.
“I don’t have to do it every time. Sometimes you can just pass and move into a better position. My time at Bournemouth helped me. I improved defensively, I’m not one who just dives into tackles now. I try and pick my opportunities when the ball breaks. I feel good, I’m happy with the way things are going and I’m enjoying playing here.”
On his time at Bournemouth, for whom he played 29 times, Wilshere added: “I only had a few days to pick between three or four clubs, and as soon as I spoke to Eddie [Howe] and Jason [Tindale], his assistant, it was clear to me that was the right place to go.
“It was totally different to here at Arsenal, of course. The aim at the start of the season was to stay in the League. I have never been in a position like that, so it was new to me.
“I felt I improved massively defensively, I had to learn a lot out of possession. A team like Bournemouth against the big teams would try and sit in and hit them on the break, so I learned that side of the game.”