sport

Wilshere must improve - Robson

Bryan Robson is unsure what type of midfielder Jack Wilshere wants to be, but believes he needs to improve his game regardless.

Wilshere was outstanding in Wednesday night's friendly victory over Brazil, deservedly scooping the man-of-the-match prize as England recorded their first win over the South Americans in 23 years.

As a veteran of 90 internationals, 65 as skipper - a figure exceeded only by Bobby Moore and Billy Wright - Robson is acutely aware of the dangers lurking in heaping such high praise on Wilshere.

And speaking at a Subbuteo event at Wembley on behalf of Absolute Radio and official England supporter Mars, Robson warned are still areas of Wilshere's game that require more work.

"Jack still has a bit to prove," said Robson.

"He has good ability, works really hard for the team and has that little bit of aggression which he wants to win. That all comes out in his game.

"But I look at him and think what kind of player does Jack want to be? Is he going to be an offensive player? If he is, he needs to score more goals.

"If he is going to be defensive, he has to work that little bit harder on the defensive side of his game."

Yet Robson concedes Wilshere could have no better example to learn from than skipper Steven Gerrard, whose understated contribution last night went largely unnoticed amid the excellent performances of Wilshere and Theo Walcott and the goals of Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.

"Steven Gerrard has offensive and defensive qualities," said Robson.

"When required, he can attack, he can score goals, alternatively he can sit in front of the back four, defend and do a great passing job.

"That is what Jack has to try and achieve.

"The positive thing is that his attitude looks good. It seems like he wants to learn and, when you have weaknesses, that is what you need to become a better player."

Robson also warned that the real challenge for Wilshere and his team-mates will come 12 months after that, when they need to make the step up from being a decent tournament team to one capable of challenging for major honours.

"For England, the difference between being at a World Cup and competing for it is how many of the young lads can actually make the step up to the highest level," Robson said.

"We have Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney, who isn't that old but has so much experience, but you can't expect those lads to do it on their own.

"(Manager) Roy Hodgson has given a chance to quite a few young lads; Wilshere, Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. Gary Cahill has put himself in there.

"When you go further forward, can Daniel Sturridge come through, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott?

"These young lads have to take the next step.

"We all know they are decent players in the Premier League and it is okay breaking into the England squad. But can you be outstanding at the highest level?

"If three or four of them can become really good international players, that will help us hugely at the World Cup."