Wilshere hits back at critics
Jack Wilshere appeared to hit back at his critics after becoming embroiled in another smoking controversy.
Photos of the midfielder holding a shisha pipe at a nightclub were posted on social media and quickly made national headlines.
On Thursday evening, Wilshere posted on Instagram a video of himself in training as he recovers from ankle surgery along with the message : "Worry about your character not your reputation, because your character is who you are and your reputation is only what people who don't know you think about you!"
The Gunners are to seek clarification from Wilshere over the circumstances of the incident, which is understood to have happened during a night out with friends in central London last week.
A picture of Wilshere was uploaded to Instagram, before being removed and replaced with an edited version where only the face of the Arsenal player was visible in the background.
However, the original image, where the England international held the shisha pipe, was then subsequently reposted on Twitter, sparking much debate across social media over the player's behaviour ahead of Saturday's north London derby at Tottenham
Arsenal take a dim view on players smoking.
In January, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was hit with a £25,000 fine after it emerged he lit up in the showers following the 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day, since when the Pole has not started a Barclays Premier League match.
Wilshere's representatives said they had nothing further to add when contacted by the Press Association on Thursday.
The latest revelations around Wilshere - the midfielder has been criticised in the past after twice being pictured with a cigarette, the previous occasion while on holiday in Las Vegas last summer with England goalkeeper Joe Hart following the 2014 World Cup - will come as an unwelcome distraction to Wenger as he prepares his squad for Saturday's lunchtime kick off at White Hart Lane, with the subject now set to dominate the agenda at Friday's morning media conference.
Leading scorer Alexis Sanchez will again be out because of a hamstring injury which saw him miss the 5-0 win over Aston Villa, but England forward Danny Welbeck is in line to make a return after being out since December 28 with a thigh problem.
Wenger said on the Arsenal club website: "Alexis is not ready. He is not far away, the Leicester game is a possibility. He is of course very difficult to keep quiet. He is training, but it's light training."
Wenger added Wilshere was set to be "back in full training next week, hopefully from Sunday".
England forward Theo Walcott, meanwhile, is relishing the prospect of the derby atmosphere as Arsenal look to keep the pressure up on the top four.
Walcott has just returned to full fitness after the best part of a year on the sidelines when suffering a serious knee injury in the closing minutes of the FA Cup third-round win over Spurs at the Emirates Stadium in January 2014.
The 25-year-old was carried off on a stretcher in front of the away supporters, some of whom threw objects to which the player responded with a 2-0 hand gesture.
Walcott, whose injury shattered his World Cup dreams, thrives on the rivalry.
"This is a massive game and it is all about the bragging rights," Walcott said in the London Evening Standard.
"Things like that have happened in the past and it won't be forgotten about, I am sure, but it is one thing I have moved on from.
"Every player will get stick I am sure, but it is about just trying to go out there and perform."
Walcott, who has scored in successive appearances since his return from a niggling groin problem, added: "Any criticism won't affect me at all. It is enjoyable - it is a bit different and is always a great atmosphere at White Hart Lane.
"It is probably the fixture I always look forward to playing in the most, to be fair.
"It is one of the biggest games for both sets of fans and this year it is going to be tight."