Jack Wilshere is honoured to have been given the same number seven shirt worn by his England hero David Beckham.
The Football Association confirmed England’s World Cup squad numbers during a training camp in Portugal last Thursday.
Wilshere was lying on a sun lounger at the time, drifting off after a long training session in which he was made to wear padded clothing to replicate the sweaty conditions he will encounter in Manaus.
Ordinarily the sleep denial would have peeved Wilshere after such an arduous session, but this was a welcome wake-up call because Beckham, England’s most iconic number seven in recent times, also happens to be the Arsenal midfielder’s idol.
“I was lying on a sunbed trying to go to sleep actually and a text came through saying I was number 7. That was it,” Wilshere said with a broad smile.
“There has been Bryan Robson and David Beckham (who have worn seven) and now I have it.
“Beckham was my hero growing up as well so it is quite nice to get it.”
Beckham, England’s most-capped outfield player, features in almost every one of Wilshere’s World Cup memories.
The Arsenal midfielder was only six at the time, but he remembers Beckham’s dismissal in France ‘98 as well as his performances in 2002 and 2006.
Just like Beckham was in France, Wilshere heads into his first international tournament with few caps to his name.
But even though Wilshere has only 15 international appearances under his belt, he is by no means the baby of the group. Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Daniel Sturridge and Luke Shaw are four of the 12 players in Roy Hodgson’s squad who have fewer caps than the Gunners midfielder.
“Luke Shaw was born in ‘95. Oh my god,” Wilshere said with a shocked expression on his face.
“I’m not the baby any more. Ross is ‘93. Raheem is ‘94...
“They have done well and they are here on merit.”
The youthful look of Hodgson’s squad has left Wilshere with an optimistic view on the tournament ahead.
“We are not going to say we are happy with the semis,” he said.
“We are going there to win it.”
Wilshere admits his injury problems have taken their toll on him psychologically.
“The more it happens the lower you get,” he said.