Xavi believes Jack Wilshere has so much talent it’s hard to believe he’s English.
The Barcelona legend is a big fan of the Arsenal man, despite the midfielder’s persistent injury problems since breaking into the first team in 2008.
They faced off against each other in 2011 when Barcelona beat the Gunners 4-3 over two legs to reach the Champions League quarter-final.
Wilshere earned rave reviews at the time for his performance – but not from then Barca boss Pep Guardiola, who said his club had many players just as good as Wilshere in their reserve team.
We’re not sure the Barca youth players could have played as well as this at the time:
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But Xavi doesn’t subscribe to the same opinion as his former boss, instead praising the playmaker’s ability and insisting he could be the difference maker for club and country.
He’s so good that, in Xavi’s view, Wilshere doesn’t look like a typical English player – high praise for the player, but hard to hear if you’re English.
Xavi said, via talksport.co.uk:
He played a fantastic game against us [in 2011]. Let’s not forget he was just 20 or 21 years old [Wilshere was 19]… It’s just a shame he got injured so many times over the past two years.
If he gets going and a bit of continuity as well, he may make the difference for both Arsenal and the English national team. He is a different kind of English player.
Even though he has been nourished in a physical type of football, he is really talented, gifted for passing and he does not give the ball away. He does not seem to be English!
Wilshere is currently out injured after picking up a hairline in his leg before the season kicked off and is not scheduled to return to Wenger’s squad until the middle of December.