‘Forget England and get into the first-team’ – Ray Parlour tells Jack Wilshere to focus on Arsenal
Wilshere has only featured in 13 minutes of his side’s Premier League campaign this season and last appeared for England as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat to Iceland in Euro 2016.
But having impressed for Arsenal in the Europa League and Carabao Cup, Parlour believes Wilshere can work his way into the international setup if he continues to perform.
“I think Jack is so pleased to be playing football again,” Parlour told talkSPORT’s Jim White.
“He’s had his injury nightmares over the past few years. He’s a big player – on his day – he’s really close to starting for Arsenal in a Premier League game.
“He doesn’t have to worry about England at the moment. He’s got to concentrate and get back in that [Arsenal] first team.
“If he keeps playing well and doing the right things in games and training, Arsene Wenger might give him another chance.
“There’s talk he’s going to sign a new contract, which would be amazing really, because it looked like he was going to leave the club.”
Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks has been named in Southgate’s squad after earning his first senior call-up against for the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
And as a direct rival for a position in central midfield, Parlour expects Wilshere to recover from the setback and take inspiration from his return to fitness.
“Of course you’re disappointed but he’s a strong character,” Parlour said.
“He wouldn’t be a strong character to come back from the injuries he’s had because some people give up.
“And it’s really hard to come back from injuries like that. And he’s got knock-backs after knock-backs. Now he’s just pleased to play football.
“It’s the worst possible thing when you’re injured and you’re watching the other players to go out and train – and you’re not part of it.
“And he’s seen that. He’s been on that treatment table watching players go out with a smile on their face.
“Suddenly he’s got that smile on his face now. All he’s got to concentrate on now is his performances.
“And since he’s been back in the side in the Europa League or the EFL Cup, he’s played well. There’s still plenty of time for him to get back into that England squad.”