Hodgson lavishes praise on Jack Wilshere after Euro 2016 pick

Wilshere played for England against Ireland in Dublin last June
Wilshere played for England against Ireland in Dublin last June

Roy Hodgson believes Jack Wilshere deserves special dispensation as the injury-hit England midfielder is a "special player".

This campaign, like so many before, has proved frustrating for the highly-talented 24-year-old, having been derailed by a broken leg towards the end of pre-season.

The long road to recovery meant Wilshere's first start of the season came in Sunday's season finale, playing 69 minutes as Arsenal thrashed rudderless, and relegated, Aston Villa 4-0.

It was a display Hodgson watched first-hand and led him to include the midfielder in England's 26-man provisional squad for Euro 2016 less than 24 hours later.

There will be criticism in some quarters given his lack of fitness, and accusations of special treatment too, but Hodgson believes Wilshere is a special case.

"Most of his injuries have been trauma injuries," Hodgson said. "I am not worried about him. 

"Obviously, I think he is a real quality player. He ticks all the boxes.

"I had to ask myself certain questions. Is he actually fit now? Yes, he is fit.

"I had to ask myself if he is the type of player who brings something different to the team, a player we do not have an abundance of? The answer was yes.

"The third question, well, at top-level competition, in the qualifiers, has he performed? Has he done the job for us? Has he been a very good player? I think three man-of-the-matches in a row would answer that one.

"So, really, to select him in a group of 26 was a very easy thing to do.

"Would I have liked him to have actually been playing week-in, week-out for the Arsenal? Of course I would.

"Would I have liked Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Eric Dier to have played a few less games, and Chris Smalling to have had a bit of a rest at some stage of the season? Yes, I would.

"He is there on merit, he is a special player. We don't have lots and lots of Jack Wilsheres available.

"There are other areas on the field where my choice is very great because players that we like and need in the team, there are quite a few of them and even a few outside the group who could have got in.

"For Wilshere, it is a bit different so he deserves the chance to show he is fit, capable of playing at the level he was playing for us in the autumn and I have got at least a couple of matches when I can test those things out as well as the training sessions."

Jordan Henderson was another player included despite doubts over fitness, but could play in Liverpool's Europa League final against Sevilla having returned from a knee injury off the bench against West Brom.

Danny Drinkwater, James Milner and Fabian Delph are among the other midfielders in the 26-strong England squad, but there was no place for the experience of Michael Carrick.