It was only three years ago that Jack Wilshere was considered the next great hope for not just English football, but for all aficionados of what Pele once called the beautiful game. Now many have given up on him, dissuaded by his near constant presence on the trainer's table, in the tabloids, and among the smokers on the Emirates fire escape.
However, it is too early to give up on the boy Wilshere, and not just because he leads the gunners in banter per minute! I genuinely believe that Jack Wilshere has the potential to be not just the best midfielder in the world, but the best player in the world!
Now, hold on, bear with me. I know what you're thinking. "But mate," you're saying, "what about Ozil?" Now I love our gegenwunderkind as much as any aficionado of what Pele once called the beautiful game, but even genius can only last so long.
When Mesut returns to Wagner's Ring Cycle, we will need someone to take his place and Jack is waiting to realize his potential.
You see, Wilshere wasn't just a young player at Arsenal. He is a product of our youth academy. He's not some johnny come lately like Harry K*ne at Sp*ds. He's a real product of our youth ranks. Which means he has been shaped by Arsene Wenger since birth. Think of the coaching that has been ingrained in his mind. No injury could dull that. Think of the amount of broccoli he has consumed. No amount of cigarettes could overcome that.
Wilshere has been shaped by one of the greatest football minds of our age. And for the last several years he has had nothing but time in a hospital bed to grow and nurture the lessons he was taught over a lifetime.
I want you to picture Wilshere in his natural element. Ignore the harsh hospital lighting. Ignore the stench of cheap cigarillos. Ignore the reruns of Hollyoaks blaring on a loop from the TV in the corner.
Think of Wilshere, an Arsenal fan from birth, sitting in the corner, gazing out on the harsh landscapes of Las Vegas. He is doing what every Arsenal fan does when they have a moment to themselves - he is thinking about the performance of Jack Wilshere against Barcelona.
Think of how much you think of it. Now imagine your life was a ceaseless monotony of rehab, plaid hats, and velour tracksuits.
This is all Jack Wilshere thinks about.
Wilshere already had the big game mentality. He has a passion for the team (just ask him what he thinks of Tottenham LOL), but now he has so much more. By simply being an Arsenal fan, he had a leg up. Over his years of helplessly wasting on hospital beds, he unlocked something that few players ever had a chance to work out - the perfect understanding of the perfect performance.
When he comes back he will have solved football. Glass ankles won't matter because other teams won't be able to lay a toe on his finely crafted moves. Lacking the lung capacity for more than 20 minutes of play won't slow him down because he'll know when to use his limited reserves. Dribbling with his head down into four defenders is fine, because it's Swansea and the 90th minute and the ref will probably bail him out, ok?
Some might deride him as an injury plagued has-been or never-was. But we true Arsenal fans, those of us who kept the faith, us aficionados of what the Brazilian Pele once called in his language joga bonito. And as he enters the media zone, fresh from winning another glorious fourth place for the Gunners, they will ask him what he thinks of Tottenham. "S***" he'll reply. But when they ask him what he thought of his performance there will be only one answer he can give: "Perfection."
The Short Fuse has been taken over today by Cartilage Free Captain, SB Nation's Tottenham Hotspur blog! For the humor-impaired, articles posted today are intended to be parody and do not reflect the views (or even the writing!) of The Short Fuse writing staff.