Jack Wilshere lives up to the hype in a short but sweet England start

One half was enough for teenage Arsenal midfielder to show his promise on international stage

Jack Wilshere had kept his Twitter habit in check all day. The final communication to the outside world came 23 hours before the kick-off, when he proclaimed his success in finding a football match – the Republic of Ireland versus Wales – to watch on the TV in his Copenhagen hotel room. "It's on mute though cos I do not speak Danish," he wrote. "Shame Ramsey not playing!"

His addiction to tweeting seems to provide evidence of an infectious enthusiasm not necessarily evident in his poker‑faced demeanour on the pitch, and when the time came for his own match, and a debut starting appearance quite uncharacteristically hyped up by his own manager, the 19-year-old made a fine early impression. In the opening 60 seconds, as England played their way out of defence, the young man measured a succession of careful, thoroughly rational passes to Michael Dawson, Wayne Rooney and Glen Johnson.

Given that he stands no more than 5ft 7in, Wilshere is never going to be much of a deterrent to the opposition at set pieces, and although his principal duties were defensive he could not be blamed when Denmark took the lead in the eighth minute after Christian Eriksen returned the ball on to Daniel Agger's head from a half-cleared corner.

Two minutes later, however, he was at the heart of England's equaliser. When Theo Walcott won the ball and fed his Arsenal colleague, Wilshere launched the ball with instant vision and immaculate technique out to Ashley Cole on the left. The full‑back's long cross, perhaps overhit, found Walcott ready to skin Mathias Jorgensen and slide in a low centre that required no more of Darren Bent than good anticipation and a tap-in.

By comparing Wilshere to Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Raúl, Fabio Capello had raised the stakes to a remarkable degree. Perhaps he and his team of coaches have detected something in the young man's nature that might respond to such a build-up. Nicklas Bendtner, another Arsenal team-mate and one of his opponents last night, warned during the week of the dangers of putting undue pressure on young English players. Wilshere's footballing temperament, however, appears to tend towards the precociously phlegmatic, and he seemed disinclined to allow the manager's words to disturb his composure.

We think of Wilshere as a prodigy, but Eriksen, interestingly, is six weeks younger. The Danish playmaker will be 19 on St Valentine's Day, and this was his 11th senior cap. Two years ago Ajax paid his junior club, Odense, £1m for his services, and last spring they extended his contract until 2014. He was expected to be one of the young stars of the World Cup last summer but was hardly used as Denmark struggled.

Here he played in a trequartista position behind Bendtner and Michael Krohn-Dehli, which is the kind of role many – although not Capello, at least at the moment – envisage for Wilshere. Eriksen moved the ball around smoothly, and with 10 minutes left in the first half he cut in from the right and rapped Joe Hart's right-hand post with a smart left-footed shot.

In his 45 minutes before being replaced by Gareth Barry, Wilshere did most of what could be expected of him, given that he was in a partnership with Frank Lampard in the centre of midfield and that neither of them is a natural defender. Asking Wilshere to screen the back four is a little bit like asking Paul Scholes to do the same thing – although Scholes could be relied on to give away more free-kicks.

What England's supporters must hope for is that Josh McEachran graduates quickly from the Under‑21 team, for which he made his own first starting appearance on Tuesday night. In a 1-0 defeat against Italy in Empoli, the 17-year-old Chelsea player hardly put a foot wrong and created fine scoring opportunities destined to be wasted by James Vaughan and Scott Sinclair. As Stuart Pearce remarked, with amusing modesty, McEachran and Wilshere "see" the game – in other words, spot openings before they actually occur – better than he does.

The two of them, in conjunction with a more defensive midfield player such as Bolton's Fabrice Muamba – McEachran's partner in Italy this week – or Everton's Jack Rodwell, surely represent England's future. Where Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson failed to turn the equally gifted Ray Wilkins and Glenn Hoddle, along with Bryan Robson, into a fully functioning unit, Capello – or, more likely, his successor – must not waste the kind of quality so seldom produced in England.

In a lively opening half, Wilshere did nothing to undermine the expectations that had built up around him. As usual on such occasions, the proliferation of arrivals from both substitutes' benches disrupted the momentum and shape of an entertaining game. But it was noticeable, before England scored their second goal, that Eriksen had continued to create alarm, turning Johnson with flamboyant ease on the left before materialising on the right with a backheel that put Dennis Rommedahl in for a shot from close range. Good enough and therefore old enough.

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