Thursday 23 January 2020

Wilshere is on track to have 'huge career' - Wenger

Jack Wilshere was heralded as one of England's brightest talents when he became Arsenal's youngest league debutant at the age of 16. Photo credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Jack Wilshere was heralded as one of England's brightest talents when he became Arsenal's youngest league debutant at the age of 16. Photo credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Matt Law

Arsene Wenger has urged Jack Wilshere not to hit back at his critics and claimed the Arsenal midfielder is following a similar career path to Wayne Rooney.

Wilshere was heralded as one of England's brightest talents when he became Arsenal's youngest league debutant at 16 in 2008. Injuries have held up Wilshere's progress and the 22-year-old has twice been forced to explain himself to Arsenal manager Wenger after being pictured smoking.

Wilshere's performances have also been the subject of much debate, with former England internationals Paul Scholes, Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp all claiming he is not fulfilling his potential.

"He (Wilshere) pays the price for England not winning the World Cup," said Wenger. "Suddenly when you get to 22, the expectation level comes on you. Rooney has gone through that, now it goes through Wilshere. I believe at the moment he should not respond to it, just focus on his game. I spoke to him about it."

Wenger maintains Wilshere is still on track to reach the levels expected of him.

"If Wilshere can maintain physically to be fit, then he will make a huge career," said Wenger.

"I think he is on target of where he should be. He is not as far as everyone expected him to be from when he was at 18. But he's not as far because he was injured, not because he doesn't train seriously."

While Wilshere has already attracted criticism this season, Calum Chambers has won rave reviews for his performances against Manchester City in the Community Shield, Palace in the Premier League and Besiktas in the Champions League.

The £16m signing from Southampton, who has played in the centre of defence for Arsenal, is now being tipped as a realistic candidate to be called into the England squad for next month's friendly against Norway and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland.

"Calum has done extremely well," said Wenger. "But in England you have to be a bit more patient. He has played three games and I think it is important for the development of the players that it doesn't go too fast."

Meanwhile, Erik Lamela inspired Tottenham to a 2-1 victory over AEL Limassol in the in the first leg of their Europa League play-off in Cyprus.

AEL looked set to inflict a shock defeat on Mauricio Pochettino's side until the £30m Argentinian's game-changing introduction in hot and humid conditions.

The hosts went ahead in the 14th minute, but Lamela made a huge difference off the bench, producing a wonderful clipped ball which Roberto Soldado exquisitely struck home and then playing through Harry Kane to secure victory. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The Saracens scandal, Leinster's nightmare draw and Andy Farrell's tough calls

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport