Hodgson won't rush Wilshere

  • Last Updated: October 19 2012, 7:15 BST

England boss Roy Hodgson has cautioned against expecting too much too soon from Jack Wilshere.

Wilshere: Working his way back to full fitness

After 16 months out of the game with a succession of injuries, the Arsenal midfielder is finally closing in on a first-team comeback.

The 20-year-old completed the full 90 minutes of a reserve team game against Chelsea on Wednesday and it now appears to be just a matter of time before Wilshere appears at senior level once more.

Given the impact he made after breaking through at Arsenal, it will not be long before questions are being posed about when he will resume his five-cap international career.

Ordinarily, next month's friendly with Sweden in Stockholm would represent the ideal opportunity.

However, Hodgson is following Arsene Wenger's lead by playing down expectations.

"The thing we've got to realise about Jack, as Arsene mentioned, is that he's been out of football for a long time," said Hodgson.

"He's a wonderful talent and of course it would be terrific if he could reproduce that form when he becomes involved again.

"But I'm also keen to play down the expectations.

"When you've been out for well over a year, to come back and play like he was before might take a little bit of time."

England's laborious efforts against Poland in Warsaw on Wednesday night, particularly the disappointing nature of their passing and lack of forward momentum from central midfield, called out for a player of Wilshere's creativity.

And, for all his words of caution, Hodgson will be keeping a close eye on developments at the Emirates.

"He was a revelation when he broke into the team and is certainly one we're going to be watching very carefully," he said.

There are a few others Hodgson will be keeping an eye on too ahead of the Sweden game.

Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are both closing in on comebacks after long-term problems and the likes of Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey, who won his first cap against San Marino, and Raheem Sterling, are bound to be in his thoughts.

However, as the game has been arranged to open Sweden's new 50,000-capacity national stadium, and because both England as a team and Hodgson himself are both incredibly popular in the country, he does not want to undermine the match, which falls between two rounds of the Champions League.

"We have to be careful," he said.

"I don't intend to go to Stockholm with a weak team.

"It is a massive occasion for Sweden - and they like me over there, or at least they used to.

"On the other hand, I'm also conscious of the fact that a lot of players, the Gerrards and the Rooneys and the Carricks will be right in the middle of European football as well, and I don't know how much I can bash them.

"But I would certainly like to see one or two different players, with a view to February and March, and the Stockholm game gives me that opportunity."


Click here for a completely free £10 football bet with Sky Bet