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Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Samir Nasri backs Jack Wilshere to shine for England

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY: ENGLAND v DENMARK
Venue: Parken Stadium, Copenhagen Date: Wednesday, 9 February Kick-off: 1915 GMT Coverage details: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary and full reports on BBC Sport website & mobiles; live on ITV1

By Ian Dennis
BBC 5 Live Senior Football Reporter

Jack Wilshere
Wilshere has established himself as a key player for Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri believes Jack Wilshere is ready to make the step up to international level with England.

Wilshere, 19, is set to make his full debut for his country in Wednesday's friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen.

And Nasri says his Gunners team-mate can beat the nerves and show his value, telling BBC Radio 5 live: "I like Jack as a player, he is never scared.

"I like his attitude and he reminds me a bit of me when I was younger. He is a great, great, great prospect."

Wilshere became the 10th youngest player to play for England at 18 years and 222 days when he came on as an 83rd-minute substitute for Steven Gerrard against Hungary in a friendly at Wembley in August.

And the midfielder has followed that by featuring in 31 games already for Arsenal this season, establishing himself as a key part of the Gunners squad as they battle on four fronts - the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup.

It means, with Gerrard missing the match in Denmark because of injury, Wilshere looks certain to be handed the midfield holding role from the start on Wednesday by head coach Fabio Capello.

"I have a lot of respect for Jack because he is a really talented player," added Nasri.

If he gets the chance I am sure he will grab it with both hands

Theo Walcott on Jack Wilshere

"He plays with guts as you say in England. I like him as a player because he always tries to play forward.

"Some players when they play can be under pressure but him, he's not scared."

Another of Wilshere's Arsenal team-mates, Theo Walcott, has also backed the midfielder to make the most of his chance should he be handed a full debut.

"Jack will be fine," said the winger, who is also expected to start in Copenhagen.

"He has got confidence, is playing week in and week out for Arsenal with no fear. Jack is gifted in his left foot and is an absolute dream to play with.

"If he gets the chance I am sure he will grab it with both hands."

Ashley Cole, meanwhile, will make history on Wednesday when he becomes England's most capped full-back.

The Chelsea defender made his debut against Albania in Tirana in 2001 and will beat Kenny Sansom's record of 86 caps, set between 1979 and 1988.

I just want to keep playing as many games as I can until the manager doesn't think I'm good enough to play or it's time for a younger one to come in and play

Ashley Cole

Still, the 30-year-old insists his focus will solely be on the game, saying: "For me it's going to be a normal match. Of course, in the back of my mind, I'll think 'yeah, I broke the record', but I don't want to stop here. I want to keep going and get more caps."

Every one of Cole's 86 caps has been a start for his country, something he agrees is unique in the modern era: "I think it is.

"I've missed a lot of games with injury so maybe I would have hit 90 or something like that barring injury. To play for your country is a dream as a little kid and I've done it 86 times.

"I just want to keep playing as many games as I can until the manager doesn't think I'm good enough to play or it's time for a younger one to come in and play. I'm never going to give up or retire. I want to win as many caps as I can.

"Hopefully one day people like [Arsenal's Kieran] Gibbs will get a chance. I don't want to block people like that, he's a great young player coming through and maybe soon it will be time for him to start playing.

"It's half and half, I want to carry on but do I do it just for me or try and help the team out by stepping aside and letting the young ones through?"

Cole, meanwhile, was named England's player of the year for 2010 this week.

And he cannot hide his pride at his achievements, saying: "I never thought as a kid I would win trophies, play for Chelsea, play for Arsenal and for England this many times.

"For me every day is a joy."



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see also
Wilshere avoids Twitter reprimand
07 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal
05 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Capello calls up defender Walker
05 Feb 11 |  Football
England 2-1 Hungary
11 Aug 10 |  Football


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