Unai Emery discusses Jack Wilshere departure ahead of his return to Arsenal
England international left the Gunners to join West Ham in the summer.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has revealed a 15-minute conversation with Jack Wilshere was enough to bring the curtain down on his 17-year stay at the club.
Wilshere returns to the Emirates Stadium for the first time this weekend after leaving the Gunners to join West Ham in the summer.
The England international was out of contract at Arsenal and, despite having an offer with a reduced wage on the table, he opted to walk away.
Wilshere has struggled with injuries in recent seasons but made 38 appearances last term, but he then spoke of a conversation with Emery where he was told his playing time would be “significantly reduced”.
Emery – who has yet to collect a point since replacing Arsene Wenger following defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea – will want to open his account against Wilshere’s West Ham on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the London derby, the former Paris St Germain boss gave more details about the meeting which sealed Wilshere’s fate.
“I spoke with him for 15 minutes here in Colney before he left,” he said. “The first thing for me is I have respect for his career here. And then, he chooses what the best was for him in his future.
“On Saturday, I know that here, the supporters like him and have this respect also. I think there is a good reception for him here.
“Then we are going to play and we are going to think after that, for us to win. But I hope the best for his career.”
Arsenal and West Ham have both started the new Premier League campaign with back-to-back defeats.
Emery has come in for criticism from some quarters for trying to instil his approach too soon – as he demands a high pressing game and his team to play out from the back.
But the 46-year-old is not about to change his philosophy in search of a maiden victory.
“In our process, we are going 38 matches against all the teams – whether you are playing against Manchester City, it’s the same as if you’re playing against West Ham on Saturday,” he said.
“There are three points on this game. It’s clear that every game demands different things tactically. After the first two matches, we have two defeats and we need to win this match against West Ham.”
Arsenal were handed a slight injury boost after captain Laurent Koscielny trained outdoors on Thursday as he steps up his recovery.
The France defender missed the World Cup after rupturing his Achilles in the Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in May.
Initial reports suggested he may not play again in 2018 but Emery believes it is a positive, for the team as a whole as well as for his skipper, that he is already working his way back to fitness.
“He’s working very hard,” Emery added. “First he was in France. He came back to us last Sunday.
“We are happy to have him here with us, because he’s our captain and he’s showing us his spirit to stay with us.
“We need to be patient with him because the injury was an important injury. It’s clear that it’s very important to stay with us, working here and showing us that he wants to help us.”