Jack Wilshere wants Arsenal to sort out his contract before the World Cup
But if the club refuse to make him a deal he feels is acceptable, he will not be distracted from performing his very best for England in the massive shop window provided by this summer’s World Cup.
His contract at the Emirates runs out on June 30, so he could be a free agent during England’s knockout campaign.
And with former World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso recently describing him as “the personality of English football but with the qualities of a Spanish player”, scouts from all over the world will be watching him.
Wilshere, though, would prefer to get things sorted.
I want to go to the World Cup and enjoy it and we have three months till then and a lot can happen
“Ideally from my point of view and the club’s point of view, they will probably want it sorted,” he said.
“I want it sorted as soon as possible.
“I want to go to the World Cup and enjoy it and we have three months till then and a lot can happen.
“But if it’s not, I don’t think it would be a distraction because this is probably one of the most important years of my career. If I had let the contract and the future go to my head, and I had worried about that, I would have probably ended up leaving in January.
If a new contract is not signed, Wilshere could be a free agent during the World Cup
“I just wanted to focus on getting fit, getting back in the Arsenal team and then hopefully getting back with England.”
Despite renewing Mesut Ozil’s contract for a mammoth £350,000 a week, Arsenal are adamant that has not paved the way for a series of copycat demands and appear to be making something of an example of Wilshere by offering him around £100,000 a week – slightly less than his current deal.
Showing that sort of robustness to a player who has served the club loyally, recently as captain, since he was an eight-year-old is a clear indication to the dressing room that the board have not suddenly become pushovers.
Furthermore, it is not as though it is the first time the club have told Wilshere he could leave.
That came in a phone call from Arsene Wenger while he was working out on a gym bike in the club’s London Colney training complex in early August, when he was focused more on getting fit for the start of the new campaign.
“It was an honest conversation,” Wilshere recalled. “I was on the bike in the gym, and it was a strange one, because maybe part of me knew all this already. All I needed was some clarity on where I stood.
“We have known each other long enough where we can have that relationship where we are honest with each other.
“It was boiling up for a while because everybody knew I had a year left on my deal and I had been out on loan, got injured, and wasn’t really in his plans.
“He said, ‘I am going to be honest with you and at the moment we are not going to be offering you a contact, so if you can get a contract somewhere else, you can go’.
“Obviously I was not happy with that, but at the same time I was happy he was being honest. I did not find anything that I wanted and at the same time I was not really fit, so I decided that I wanted to stay and build up my fitness.
“I always had confidence I could get back into the midfield if I got my fitness back and kept it – and I did that. I proved that I could get into that team.”
Performances in the Europa League finally earned Wilshere his breakthrough into the starting Premier League side in December, and he has not looked back.
“Eventually, even Gareth Southgate had to welcome him back into the England fold, probably for his first appearance tomorrow since Euro 2016.
“I never gave up hope that I could do it again,” Wilshere said. “I was in the squad 18 months ago and I didn’t get the chance. But I’ve always felt like it’s somewhere I belong and I want to be involved in this.
“I had the vision going forward and now it’s down to me to stake my claim.”