Phil Thompson was asked about midfielder Jack Wilshere not making West Ham’s squad for the clash with Norwich City on Saturday and clearly seemed to hold the opinion that Manuel Pellegrini was mismanaging the 27-year-old.
The Hammers manager had previously heaped praise on Wilshere following his display in the 2-0 win over Newport County in midweek and even claimed the player would soon return to his “very best.” (Source: official West Ham website)
These remarks combined with the fact Wilshere was absent from the Hammers’ teamsheet against the Canaries, led to Thompson sharing that he believes Pellegrini wasn’t helping the player with his management.
“I mean it is like that (Stelling said he should have been on the bench v Norwich),” said Thompson on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, 14:50, Saturday, August 31st).
“As you need to sort of…especially with Jack cause of the injuries that he has had, give him a little bit of toffee and make it sound like he has done really well.
“And to take that away from him and not even be in the squad! Unless he has an injury (Stelling said no injury)… well obviously it’s the way it is.
“But if it is he is going to be extremely disappointed.
“And you know managers have a tough job to do, but we were saying before about Solskjaer with Sanchez and him saying how important he is going to be, that he has a lot to do in this side and he’ll be playing him then he’s on his way and you just think sometimes you don’t want to be honest.
“I think Jack would rather he hadn’t said those kind things and just let him get on with it.
“Don’t make it sound like I’m back and doing my stuff and then I can’t even get in the squad.”
While Pellegrini clearly has several midfield options to call upon, even summer signing Pablo Fornals could only make the bench on Saturday, you can see where Thompson is coming from on the subject of Wilshere.
The 27-year-old’s confidence is likely fragile and he probably does need his manager publicly singing his praises, however, for him to be praised only not to make the Hammers’ next squad, surely shatters any feel-good factor and positive vibe that he achieved from impressing against Newport.
Wilshere’s confidence is likely fragile due to missing 30 games for the Hammers due to injury last season, as per Transfermarkt, and because his league outings this season haven’t gone to plan.
The Hammers midfielder has failed to complete 90 minutes in any of his two league outings so far, with his game time totalling 102 minutes (WhoScored), and he has only averaged a rating of 6.07 for his displays.
Wilshere notably struggled in the 1-1 draw with Brighton as he managed to touch the ball just 15 times, as per WhoScored, and that probably was demoralising for him.
However, if Pellegrini doesn’t believe Wilshere would have been useful to him against Norwich on Saturday then he made the right decision to not name him in his squad, as just putting on the teamsheet for the sake of it, is insulting to him and his teammates.
Yet that said, Thompson is probably right to suggest that the Hammers manager shouldn’t have praised Wilshere publicly if he wasn’t going to use him against the Canaries, as it effectively would have been like pulling the rug from under his feet.
Hopefully, Pellegrini snubbing Wilshere on Saturday hasn’t done any permanent damage and you hope he continues to properly manage the midfielder in the coming weeks as he is clearly talented.