Wilshere was again a regular feature alongside Alex Song at the heart of the Arsenal midfield during the following months. The role meant he had the responsibility of protecting the Arsenal back four against Chelsea. Against the likes of Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel, the 18-year-old was praised for showing great physical strength during the match which Arsenal won 3–1. He made seven appearances during the month of January as he continued his partnership with Alex Song at the centre of Arsenal's midfield. This connection was as such displayed in that of the crunch match against Manchester United which was won 1–0. Then England manager Fabio Capello described him as "the future" and declared his intention to give him the 'holding role' for England after he watched the 19-year-old hold down a midfield place for Arsenal during the course of the season. Wilshere finished the season competing in all of Arsenal's final fixtures during May, making 49 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal.