Fabio Capello keeping tabs on Jack Wilshere

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England boss Fabio Capello has hinted that Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere could be a wild-card selection for the Three Lions in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

There is no question that Wilshere is special. His club manager Arsène Wenger has even compared him to Wayne Rooney at the same age.

At the Emirates Cup last weekend, Wilshere was man of the match as a substitute against Atlético Madrid and then scored twice in another man of-the-match display in the 3-0 win over Glasgow Rangers.

Wilshere, 18 on New Year's Day, is not in the squad Capello named last night for Wednesday’s friendly in the Netherlands, but the England manager will monitor his progress.

Capello said: "Wilshere has already surprised me this season, as I saw him twice last weekend in the tournament at the Emirates Stadium.

"He has improved a lot. He plays without fear – you can see his confidence.

"Other players want to pass the ball to him – they are looking to do that and that does not normally happen when one is so young.

"We have time before we have to decide if he will go to South Africa. It depends a lot on Arsène Wenger, if he will play him."

England have a tradition of throwing teens into major tournaments. Michael Owen took the 1998 World Cup by storm and Rooney shone at Euro 2004. Both were 18.

Theo Walcott, then 17 and without a league game behind him, was Sven-Göran Eriksson’s surprise selection for the 2006 World Cup.

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