Arsenal star Jack Wilshere can be ‘provoked’ - Arsene Wenger discusses nightclub incident in London Colney
- Credit: Archant
The difficulty of combining life as a well known footballer and enjoying the odd night out with friends has been alluded to by sympathetic Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Weeks after hitting the headlines for annoying a neighbour in Harpenden with his 18ft-high practice mesh, Jack Wilshere has again been the focus of articles in the mainstream media – this time for an alleged ‘altercation’ outside a West End nightclub.
At today’s (Thursday) pre-match press conference at the Gunners’ training grounds in London Colney, questions quickly switched from team news to Wenger’s thoughts on the alleged brawl – which Wilshere has apparently denied.
Hoping to quash in-depth questions on the matter, Arsenal’s boss told reporters that he had spoken to the 24 year old midfielder.
But he was keen to keep the nature of those discussions out of the public arena.
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He added: “I have spoken to him – it has been taken out of proportion. These sorts of matters we like to keep internal.”
Wenger added that there was no training session for Wilshere the day following his visit to the nightclub, and “you have to accept that players go out.”
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He commended Wilshere, who has been at the club from the age of nine, for working ‘very, very hard’ at regaining his fitness after injuring his leg in July last year.
But he said that Arsenal had no intention of rushing the footballer: “He will play for the under-21s tomorrow but I’m cautious.”
One reporter pointed out that it was not the first time Wilshere had attracted such negative publicity, and asked how many more incidents he would be prepared to overlook.
Wenger said: “It is a private matter, I don’t know really what happened.
“We know he can be provoked. It isn’t easy when you are well known, and you go anywhere.”
In response to a question on whether Wilshere was likely to eventually fulfil his potential, Wenger said: “I believe he is a real football brain. He loves football.”
But, the boss said, while the footballer’s dedication could not be doubted, the only thing holding him back is his injuries.
Wenger went on: “He has a history of injuries with us. I hope he can [overcome] that and have the career he deserves.”
• While Wilshere has attracted negative publicity for a wide range of incidents, from being photographed holding a shisha pipe to riling Spur fans, the Herts Advertiser has carried numerous stories about him being involved in the local community. For example, he helped a Harpenden boy with a severe type of cerebral palsy – apart from donating items for a fundraising auction, he personally visited the lad less than 24 hours after playing Poland. He also switched on the Christmas lights in Harpenden and has held football practice sessions with youngsters at a local school.
• West Ham United V Arsenal, Barclays Premier League, Boleyn Ground, Saturday April 9, 12.45pm.