Gary Neville Talks FA Cup

Posted May 16th at 12:00am.

I wanted to say something about Jack Wilshere after he spoke this week about me giving him Paul Scholes’ number so he could speak to Paul about his comments on Sky a few months back. He’s a fantastic talent. The more I’ve worked with him with England, the more I like him as a person. He’s actually very similar to Paul Scholes in his nature. He’s got a fight about him. He’s got immense talent. He’s been unlucky with injuries in the early part of his career but he’s a unique talent and we need him desperately for England. He’s a midfield player who accepts the ball so well, he can manipulate the ball, he can beat men, he can play one-twos and he sees the big picture out on the pitch.

When Paul Scholes speaks about you, it’s a compliment. While Scholes’ words may have come across as critical, he wouldn’t even bother speaking about 99.9% of football players, he wouldn’t give them the time of day. I know how much he rates Wilshere though. He wants Jack to be one of the best midfielders in the world, because he believes he has the talent. Some of his performances for England have been outstanding. He brings something completely different and when I watch him in training, he’s one of those players, like Scholes, that if you have him on your team, he dominates possession and keeps things moving.

The way in which he has handled the conversation he had with Scholes and how he has talked about it this week shows a mature man who isn’t sitting there whingeing. He’s fronted up to it and that’s what I like about him. In interviews, he’s willing to comment on the difficult things, he’s willing to stand out. He’s got an opinion and he’s a big character. If he stays clear of injury at the World Cup he is the type of player who could impress this summer in Brazil.

Jack Wilshere’s possession style will be a big part of how I see the FA Cup final playing out tomorrow with Arsenal dominating the ball. Wembley can be an energy-sapping pitch and so keeping possession will be key, particularly in those last 15 minutes. I think Hull will need that something to hang on to and for me, while it’s a cliché in football, the first goal is going to be absolutely crucial. I remember when we were favourites in the 1995 final but lost to Everton. We conceded a goal before half time and just couldn’t get back in to it. That could be similar with Hull tomorrow, if they score first they could make it very difficult for Arsenal.

I think Arsenal will win the game though and their trophy drought is going to come to an end. I’d love to see my old teammate Steve Bruce win but I just feel that the quality of Arsenal will see them come out on top.

Steve Bruce has done a better job at Hull than most including Gus Poyet at Sunderland in my opinion. Poyet has kept a Sunderland side up that should have stayed up. The run they just went on was a great achievement, but Bruce got Hull in to a safe position early. The job Tony Pulis has done with Crystal Palace is remarkable and he was rightly battling with Brendan Rodgers for manager of the year, but Steve Bruce should be ahead of most other candidates and if he wins the Cup final tomorrow he could well have been in for contention for manager of the year… if it hadn’t already been awarded before the Cup final!

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