Wilshere honoured by England call

The 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder has been selected by Fabio

Capello for Wednesday’s friendly with Hungary at Wembley, which

represents a meteoric rise for a player who spent half of last

season on loan at Bolton. Wilshere will become the 10th-youngest

senior England international of all time if he makes his bow

against the once-mighty Magyars. But he will not let the prospect

go to his head when he links up with his new team-mates at their

Watford base tomorrow night. “I am delighted to have been named in

the England squad for the first time,” he told www.arsenal.com. “It

is a real honour and I’m looking forward to the experience. But I

am also realistic and want to take things one step at a time.

“Being called up to the England squad is a proud moment for me and

my family, but my first target is to break into the Arsenal team

and play on a regular basis. “To achieve that, I need to keep my

head down, work hard and stay focused.” The same sentiments could

also apply to Theo Walcott, who has been recalled, and Kieran

Gibbs, who becomes a third Gunner to be included. It is a

remarkable effort from Arsene Wenger, who has so often been

criticised for his failure to develop young English talent. And for

Gibbs, it represents adequate reward for the patience he has shown

in battling back from the injury he suffered last November that

ended his outside chance of making it to South Africa. “It’s a

welcome surprise to have been called up by Fabio Capello to the

England squad for the first time,” said the 20-year-old. “It is

always an honour to play for my country at any level but it is a

special moment to be called up to the first-team squad. “To reach

my full potential, it’s important that I keep on improving all

aspects of my game and this call-up will certainly be a great

learning experience for me. I just want to make the most of every

opportunity I am given to better my game. “I have to say this a

real boost for me as I spent over five months out through injury

and this is a good opportunity to thank the surgeons and medical

support I’ve received to get me back to full fitness. “Naturally my

top priority at this moment in time is to get back to the level I

was at before my injury and get some games under my belt with

Arsenal, but of course, I would love to cement a place in the

England team in the future.”