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The Midweek Moan: Jack’s back but he’s not the messiah

Arsenal'a Jack Wilshere walks past manager Arsene Wenger after being sent off against Manchester United in his second game back after more than a year out through injury. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire Arsenal'a Jack Wilshere walks past manager Arsene Wenger after being sent off against Manchester United in his second game back after more than a year out through injury. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
1:05 PM

Welcome to the second of a new weekly London24 column taking a frustrated look at the world of sport and having a good old-fashioned rant to get it off our chests. This week Jack Wilshere, Kevin Pietersen and QPR...

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"Wilshere is a talented youngster with potential, but I believe that he has a long way to go to prove that he is the midfield magician for club and country he’s been heralded as."

Tom Moore

The well-known phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ should be changed in a sporting context to ‘absence makes you a better player in the eyes of the public’.

Jack Wilshere made his long-awaited return for Arsenal last month after more than a year out through injury and the talk was about how the Gunners were saved by his return.

Manager Arsene Wenger, rightfully, tried to play down the impact of what was, in essence, a new signing.

His return was as anticipated by Gooners in the same way a child looks forward to Christmas Day on December 24.

Then come his second game, he was sent off for two yellow cards because of over-enthusiasm.

Now, I’m not saying he’s not a good player, far from it. Wilshere is a talented youngster with potential, but I believe that he has a long way to go to prove that he is the midfield magician for club and country he’s been heralded as.

It’s the same in other sports. Take cricket’s recent Twenty20 World Cup for example, the talk was all about England’s Kevin Pietersen.

The batsman was in international exile after a fall-out with his team-mates and the ECB over sending ‘provocative’ texts to the South African team.

Yet, the question on everyone’s lips was, ‘How would England have done with him in the side?’

As much as I’d love to have a ‘what if’ machine, to see how things would have turned out if I’d made different choices in my life, it has not been invented and I doubt it ever will be.

Excuses Excuses

We have heard for the last few weeks how QPR have been unlucky and need time to gel, but finally these appear to have stopped with chairman Tony Fernandes saying that his side must win.

About time too, I say. We’re over a quarter of the way through the season and the R’s have been the side that have underperformed the most – Southampton and Reading are newly promoted and those sides normally struggle.

This is the west London side’s second season and they’ve spent an awful amount of money on bringing new players to the club.

They had two months to gel – time has run out!

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.