Jack Wilshere to be reminded of Arsenal responsibilities after nightclub 'fracas'
Jack Wilshere will yet again be reminded of his responsibilities by Arsenal today as the club attempt to establish why police were talking to him outside a London nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Although aware of Wilshere’s insistence that he was not involved in an alleged assault, there is considerable exasperation inside Arsenal that their midfielder’s off-field behaviour is again the centre of attention.
Wilshere has not played the full 90 minutes of a match for Arsenal since September 2014 and had only returned to full training on Friday following eight months out with a stress fracture to his leg.
The fact, then, that he was even out in central London the following night will renew doubts about his professionalism ahead of a potential comeback for the Under-21 team on Friday. Video footage shows Wilshere attempting to hide his face as he is spoken to by police at around 2.15am on a back street of central London on Sunday morning.
The Café de Paris has been quoted saying that someone by the name of Jack was asked to leave their premises and, with police present, an onlooker is heard saying: “Jack, don’t get nicked”.
It was alleged that a man said to be a nightclub promoter accused Wilshere of hitting him, although this is denied by the player.
Wilshere was on a day off on Sunday but was due to report back to full training on Monday. Arsene Wenger is expected to speak with Wilshere in an attempt to clarify what happened and, while Arsenal have always been hugely supportive of the 24-year-old, their patience is being eroded.
Wilshere clearly appeared drunk during the celebrations for the FA Cup final win last May - when he made only a brief 13 minute cameo – ahead of joining up with the England squad later that week.
He has previously also been twice photographed holding a cigarette and once with a shisha pipe at a London nightclub. In 2010, he received a caution for common assault, despite his claims that he was acting as a peacemaker in the incident. In 2011, he apologised after verbally abusing a taxi-driver who was wearing a Tottenham hat. The taxi-driver claimed that Wilshere spat in his direction and described his behaviour as “the worst I’ve ever seen in my 38 years as a cabbie”. At the time, Arsenal said that the matter would be dealt with internally and they also regard this current incident as private.
Wenger has criticised Wilshere previously over the smoking incidents but has also always been adamant that he has no concerns about his dedication to football. Of the incident on Sunday morning, a Scotland Yard spokesman said: "At 2.15am on Sunday, 3 April, police patrolling Coventry Street became aware of two groups of males involved in an altercation.
"Officers intervened and one man claimed he was assaulted. He did not require hospital treatment.
There have been no arrests and inquiries continue. We will not comment on who may or may not have been involved."
Wenger said on Friday that he still expected Wilshere to challenge for a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad this summer. England manager Roy Hodgson has stated that he will take Wilshere to the tournament in France if he proves his fitness and Wenger backed him to do so during the final weeks of the season.
The Frenchman also claimed it would not be a gamble to pick Wilshere, who scored two goals in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on his last competitive appearance for either club or country last June.
“If he’s completely fit, no [it is not a gamble for Hodgson to select Wilshere],” said Wenger.
“When you’re a national team coach, you can take a gamble on one player but certainly not on five.
“He has to consider the whole situation. You can certainly take a chance on just one player.
“It’s very important for his confidence that he can go to the Euros and he can play.
“It’s also important to have a player of his quality available. I’m cautious with him now but to be back fully competitive, it will take a few weeks.”