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Friday 2 December 2016

Wilshere: I'm proud of Arsenal bond

Published 08/06/2015 | 22:56

Jack Wilshere has played down his chants about Tottenham
Jack Wilshere has played down his chants about Tottenham

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere thinks the stick he has got for his FA Cup celebrations has been harsh and is proud to have such a strong bond with Gunners fans.

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Not for the first time, the 23-year-old found himself making the wrong kind of headlines as Arsenal celebrated their 4-0 win against Aston Villa on the streets of north London.

Wilshere took to the microphone during the victory parade to goad rivals Tottenham with foul-mouthed chants - actions which could now lead to a substantial fine from the Football Association.

The England midfielder was warned about his behaviour after making similar comments 12 months earlier and is now facing a misconduct charge, for which he has until 6pm on Wednesday to answer.

"I found out when I got here (on England duty)," Wilshere said. "One of the press officers told me.

"It was a surprise. I didn't know I'd been charged so I was like 'what?'

"I don't think I'm in a position to comment about it at the moment. It's being dealt with by the FA and my club. What will be, will be."

In a broadcast interview Wilshere admitted to being a little disappointed with the charge, which has inevitably led to "a bit of banter" from England team-mates.

He joked Tottenham players are not talking to him - albeit there is one less in the England squad after his collision with Ryan Mason led to the midfielder's withdrawal - and pledged never to change his connection with Arsenal supporters.

"Yeah, I am quite proud of that," Wilshere said. "I've always had that bond with the Arsenal fans since I was young because I came through the club.

"I grew up at Arsenal and I love the fans but, believe it or not, I've actually got family who are Tottenham fans so it's nothing personal against them, it was just a bit of fun."

The incident has, though, led to a dressing down from England manager Roy Hodgson and called his off-field antics into question yet again.

Asked if he considered this a lesson learnt, Wilshere said: "Yes, that's one way of looking at it, but at the same time people have been giving me a lot of stick for having some fun and enjoying myself at the end of a successful season.

"We've worked hard all year as a group of players and we've won a trophy. That's the best feeling in the world.

"No matter what job you do, if at the end of the year you get a promotion and a bonus, you're going to go out and celebrate. I think that side of things was a bit harsh."

For now, though, national team matters are Wilshere's focus, with next weekend's Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on the horizon.

The trip to Ljubljana allows the Three Lions to strengthen their grip on Group E and continue their unbeaten run, extended to a 10th match with Sunday's 0-0 draw against Ireland.

The match failed to live up to the pre-match hype, although Wilshere did a solid job at the base of the diamond - a different role to the one he plays in with Arsenal, but one he is relishing with England.

"I like playing that position, I want to learn more," he said.

"I feel every game I play in the position I'm learning a little bit more and I feel more comfortable in it.

"With the players we've got, it's an easy role to play. The players I've got around me help and the runs the forwards make means I'm able to find the passes to them.

"That's just the way it is going to be. I spoke to the (England) manager and he said 'you know what your role for England is now'.

"I'm happy playing that role and I'd happy playing a little bit further forward for Arsenal."

Press Association

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