Saunders believes playing regularly and featuring in 20 games would see Wilshere back up to speed, while Brazil suggested it would take roughly another six games for Hammers fans to see the best from the midfielder.
“Jack Wilshere for me is obviously talented and managers have stuck by him through his injuries as they can see he is a class act on the pitch,” said Saunders on talkSPORT (9:23am, Monday August 19th).
“But the way he plays, he has that many touches on the ball and the way he plays, both his ankles have been smashed, he has had trouble with knees and everything, hamstrings and as Alan (Brazil) said if he plays regular, he needs to play 20 games.”
Brazil then interjected to say Wilshere “needs” another half-a-dozen games to get up to speed.
Saunders clearly believes Wilshere is a talented player based on how managers have trusted him previously, which makes sense as the 27-year-old hasn’t racked up 176 appearances in the Premier League by accident. However, it does seem like the pundit has some reservations about Wilshere despite dubbing him a class act. Saunders seems on the brink of suggesting that Wilshere’s playing style contributes to his poor injury record, which contains a range of issues (Source: Transfermarkt), and that would imply that the pundit doesn’t think the midfielder will ever be capable of regularly featuring for a side. Also, Saunders suggesting Wilshere needs 20 games under his belt before he gets back to his best, does seem worrying. If the 27-year-old isn’t going to be able to consistently wow in the next 10 games, or show signs of improvement, it’s unlikely Manuel Pellegrini is going to keep him in the team for 20 games in a row. The English midfielder really struggled against Brighton on Saturday, he touched the ball just 15 times (Source: WhoScored), and was subbed at half-time as a result. However, maybe the Hammers manager is just managing Wilshere’s minutes and has a plan up his sleeve.