Wilshere targets England recall

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has admitted his doubts regarding an England recall ahead of the World Cup in Russia, but is “hopeful” nonetheless.

The 26-year-old has been a regular fixture in Arsenal’s midfield since spending the 2016/17 season on loan at Bournemouth, where he made 27 appearances and helped Eddie Howe’s men to an impressive ninth-place finish.

However, he has not donned England colours since the bitterly disappointing defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016, while he also missed out on recent friendlies due to a knee problem.

And, with England boss Gareth Southgate due to name his provisional 35-man squad for the World Cup in the coming weeks, Wilshere knows he is facing some stiff competition for place in the three Lions midfield.

“I am hopeful, but it all comes down to Gareth and his coaching staff,” Wilshere told Sky Sports.

“I have always said before how proud I am to play for my country. I haven’t done it for a while, I was probably going to do it then I picked up a little knock, which wasn’t ideal, but I am hopeful of going.

“Am I confident? I am not sure, but I want to go.”

He added: “There are good players in that team, you have seen it this year.

“The team has come a long way since the Iceland game where we lost and were really disappointed and there was a lot of rebuilding to do.

“Gareth and his staff have done brilliantly, players have developed since then, you just have to look in the Premier League this season and you see the likes of (Raheem) Sterling and (Harry) Kane both near the top of the scoring charts and doing well.

“There are players throughout – Jordan Henderson is in the Champions League final playing big games – and these players have developed into top players and hopefully we have can have a good World Cup.”

Wilshere’s hopes of a call-up could well hinge on his next few performances in the Premier League, with Arsenal bowing out of the Europa League on Thursday evening following a 1-0 defeat to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

The Gunners face Bournemouth at the Emirates on Sunday, where Wilshere will undoubtedly be looking to impress, before away games against Leicester and Huddersfield next week.