Could Wilshere and Hart improve themselves for England?
By Anthony Kendrick - Follow him on Twitter @Antonthology
Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart aren't in their manager's first team this season.
In Wilshere's case, it is due to all his injuries and while he showed such promise as a youngster, he has struggled to develop. Paul Scholes has given him some advice after criticising him on TV. He gets a lot of stick from the media. But in an England shirt, he rarely lets the team down. In my view, it was worth the risk in taking him to the Euros. I wouldn't have taken Henderson, as taking two midfielders who aren't 100% fit is too big a risk. The other big news with Wilshere is his off-field activities, which makes him newsworthy for the media.
Joe Hart does not fit the system Guardiola wants to play. He is undoubtedly a good goalkeeper, but I would not consider him one of the world's best and completely undroppable like say, a Hugo Lloris, David De Gea or Petr Cech. Guardiola appears to want to leave the door open for him to return to the club by saying that he can get there with training to be the kind of goalkeeper he wants. But what if it was another manager who had decided this who does not have the same authority as Guardiola. Say it was his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini. What would the fans think, because in the main it seems to be reluctant acceptance of the decision?
In any case, for both players the clubs seem to want loan deals, as both can be of value in the future. I think the best thing for both of them would be to go abroad. The media pressure would be less, and it would be an opportunity to experience a new culture, obviously in terms of the country but also the footballing culture.
We don't have enough of a mix in the England squad of players in other leagues. The only one of note is Eric Dier who came from Portugal. Look at the other major European teams. Germany have Toni Kroos at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil at Arsenal alongside Per Mertesacker and new signing Shkodran Mustafi. France have Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial at Manchester United, Payet at West Ham, Griezmann at Athletico Madrid. Spain have Nolito and Silva at Man City, Fabregas at Chelsea.
There are obviously some extenuating circumstances. The French league is very weak, so more of their top players are abroad. Bayern Munich have a number of German players, as do Real Madrid and Barcelona with Spaniards. Look at the Italian team who build from their back three at Juventus. But two players who would have got into England's squad and could have arguably started, Juan Mata and Diego Costa were not selected in the Spanish Euro 2016 squad.
The strength in depth is poor in the English side. Each time we see a squad come out, we debate it. Often it's the form vs talent debate. We should be picking the players in the best form we say. But then sometimes we shouldn't be picking the player because he's flavour of the month. It's an impossible balance. But in Sam Allardyce's case, there isn't really a choice. Other than Ross Barkley and Marcus Rashford, there is nobody who is not in the England squad that a serious case could be made for their selection.
Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere both making moves abroad would certainly help to set an example to young English players that it is an option. Young players have turned down moves abroad and preferred to play in the FL72, one notable example being Tom Ince. But there are two notable Scottish youngsters playing abroad. 20-year-old Ryan Gauld at Sporting Lisbon who have a reputation for developing young players. Oliver Burke has moved to the Bundesliga for an eight figure sum. For these young players, it is a fantastic opportunity for them to get a completely different playing style, learn in a new league and from players with a different mentality.
It would be a fantastic opportunity for Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere to really show that playing abroad can be a success. I hope it happens, rather than them playing safe and joining a mid-table Premier League club. At the time of writing, Joe Hart is having a medical at Napoli and there is no news of Jack Wilshere's move as yet.