It may not have escaped your notice that Jack Wilshere, aged 18, is in the England squad once again. Jack has also been named in the U21 squad. The U21's play on Friday evening, while the full squad is not in action until Tuesday (tickets still available all over Wembley, incidentally). You might remember that England failed spectacularly at the World Cup over the Summer. One of the reasons put forward - and it appears after every championship failure by England - was that the players were knackered after a long season. It is thought by the experts that a Winter break might aid this, though the Premier League appear to be not too keen on the idea. With this in mind it is quite incredible to think that England's brightest new talent - the aforementioned Jack Wilshere - will be subjected to playing in a kids game on Friday, before potentially playing again the following Tuesday, and then returning to play for Arsenal the following weekend. What exactly will Jack Wilshere learn from playing for England U21 when he has played in every Arsenal match this season in three competitions? Come Euro 2012, for which England will almost certainly qualify comfortably, they will fail again. The usual excuses will be trotted out, including the idea that the players are tired. When that happens, be sure to point out to everyone who moans about it, that England are their own worst enemy - the sort of organisation that would choose to put its new star in to a game of no consequence, rather than giving him a few days rest and recuperation.
When I wrote about the Chelsea game on Sunday and Monday I didn't mention the fouls by Malouda and Essien on Sagna and Diaby respectively. For me the foul by Malouda when he stamped (and that is exactly what he did) on Bacary Sagna was a disgusting foul. The referee missed it, but the cameras did not. Less than two minutes later Essien went over the ball on Abou Diaby. Again, nothing from the referee. As a result of the challenge Diaby is not in training with France, but nursing his re-injured ankle (I will be very annoyed if he goes on to play for his country this week). As usual, the fouls were ignored by the TV pundits. They have chosen to concentrate on the De Jong assault on Ben Arfa (incidentally, when Newcastle call for a six-month ban on a foreigner it's okay - and I believe it is too - but when Arsene Wenger calls for a ban on an Englishman he is a raving mad lunatic). However much Sky and the BBC might choose to ignore the misdemeanours of the Chelsea midfield, why are the FA not acting? The incidents seem to have been missed by the referee which would indicate that under their rules the FA can take action (if the ref did see them but chose not to punish accordingly, then he should be suspended too). The fact is that both of the incidents should have resulted in a red card. That being the case the FA should be doing something about it. Could it be that only Arsenal suffer from this? Paul Davis missed out on an England career because of video evidence, lest we forget. Perhaps Arsenal should have made more of the incidents on Sunday, but they would only have been accused of sour-grapes.
More to come later in the week - maybe tomorrow, but probably Friday.