Before West Ham United’s uninspiring draw at Brighton one respected journalist went against the grain regarding Jack Wilshere.
The former Arsenal midfielder had looked sharper and fitter for West Ham in pre-season.
So much so many supporters and pundits had highlighted Wilshere as being a central figure in West Ham’s success this season.
An abject performance against Manchester City in a 5-0 opening day drubbing was largely written off given the level of opposition.
West Ham’s Wilshere hopes raised
And ahead of the trip to Brighton West Ham fans were once again pinning their hopes on Wilshere as he lined up alongside Declan Rice in central midfield.
Manuel Pellegrini has also been at pains during the summer to explain just how crucial Wilshere is to the vision he has for his West Ham team.
But respected Daily Mail journalist Martin Samuel, a passionate lifelong West Ham fan, was not towing the party line.
Jack is not the lad
Ahead of the trip to the AMEX, Samuel penned a damning assessment of Wilshere.
And unfortunately the savage assessment rang true as the ineffectual former England midfielder was anonymous against Graham Potter’s side before being hauled off at half-time uninjured.
“West Ham cannot afford to wait (for Wilshere to get up to speed in the Premier League).” Samuel wrote in The Daily Mail.
“Declan Rice was doing the work of two men keeping Manchester City at bay and was exhausted by the time Wilshere came off, with his team already 2-0 down. After that the game ran away from West Ham.
‘This cannot last’
“Everyone would love to see Wilshere at the peak of his powers again, but the fact is West Ham’s form only picked up last season after his injury, with a more balanced midfield.
“Wilshere is yet to collect a point in his five starts for West Ham, with an aggregate score of 2-15 in those matches. Manuel Pellegrini loves him, but this cannot last.”