Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith sees a difficult season ahead for Jack Wilshere.
And the Sky pundit reckons if the the player has not enjoyed the season so far things may get worse before they get better.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “Jack Wilshere, I am sure, will not have enjoyed the bulk of his season. It will have felt like a grind when it should be so smooth.
“As it is, and as it painfully proved in the first half at the Hawthorns, Wilshere cannot rise above the crowd to stamp his authority on games that would normally see him call most of the shots.
“Part of the reason, I suspect, is a troublesome ankle that needs careful management from week to week.
“Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, for now, cannot play him in every game, which means the player’s match fitness gets slightly compromised; that and his sharpness and awareness, his ability to see the tackle coming long before it does and either ride it with a skip or accelerate away.
“An inevitable bi-product is a dip in confidence. That feeling of superiority just is not there at the moment, meaning he grows frustrated and gets sucked into situations that are really best avoided.
“The first 45 minutes at the Hawthorns illustrated this perfectly. No matter how hard he tried, Wilshere could not put a foot right. Whether it was misplacing passes, overrunning dribbles or mistiming tackles, the midfielder suffered a torrid time.”
With the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini performing so well in Arsenal’s midfield, Smith fears WIlshere could find it hard to win back his place.
“For the first time in his Arsenal career, Wilshere is being shoehorned into an unfamiliar position to find a way of fitting him into the team,” he said.
“As for what will happen when Santi Cazorla returns from injury, well that will all depend on Wilshere’s form at the time.
“If he plays like he did in the first half at the Hawthorns on Sunday, a place on the bench is not out of the question.”