Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Wilshere's not Gooner leave

Jack Wilshere has no intention of leaving Arsenal
Jack Wilshere has no intention of leaving Arsenal

Jack Wilshere has no intention of leaving Arsenal.

Wilshere has been linked with a move to Manchester City, who are eager to buy British this summer to fulfil their home-grown quota in the wake of the departures of James Milner and Frank Lampard.

But despite failing to hold down a first-team place at Arsenal for much of the season, Wilshere has no desire to leave.

"I definitely wouldn't go somewhere just because I'm a home-grown player. I'd want to be wanted by a club, I want to be wanted by Arsenal," the midfielder said.

"I've grown up at Arsenal. As long as Arsenal want me, I'm happy."

As Wilshere sat down at the England team hotel this week ahead of Sunday's trip to Slovenia, he reflected on another rollercoaster year.

"It's been a frustrating season. There have probably been more lows than highs," he said.

Winning the FA Cup was a highlight, as was his form in the autumn, when he starred for Arsenal and England.

But once again injury has hindered the 23-year-old's season.

Just after he had starred in England's 3-1 win in Scotland last November, Manchester United's Paddy McNair slid in on Wilshere's standing foot and wiped the midfielder out.

Writhing in pain on the turf at the Emirates Stadium, Wilshere knew he was facing another long layoff. It would be six months before he played again.

"I was just starting to play well, I was feeling good about myself," he said.

When asked if McNair had apologised for the challenge, the midfielder bluntly answered: "No."

Wilshere has been a regular in the treatment room at Arsenal's London Colney base ever since he made his debut seven years ago.

Controversy has also dogged him throughout his career.

"I'm not sure why it's always me," Wilshere said with a smile.

There have been many regrets. So many, in fact, that he had to pause for almost 40 seconds before deciding which one was his biggest.

"I'll answer it but, I need to think." he said, flicking through the index of errors in his mind.

"Being caught smoking," he continues after the pause.

"That's because - I've said it before and some people don't believe me - but I'm not a smoker."

The incident Wilshere was referring to is the time he was pictured holding a shisha pipe while on a night out in February.

It came a year after he was pictured smoking in a pool while on holiday in Las Vegas.

"It was a mistake I made. I definitely regret it," Wilshere said.

"I made the same mistake twice.

"I have to be sensible this summer."

A Football Association official prevented him from speaking about his latest indiscretion - grabbing the microphone during Arsenal's FA Cup winners parade and using a four-letter expletive to describe the club's local rivals Tottenham.

"We don't want to go there," said the official sat alongside Wilshere during his media briefing.

Despite admitting last week that he was surprised to have been charged for the outburst, Wilshere has accepted he was in the wrong and will be punished accordingly.

It seems the player wants to draw a line under the saga and get back to what he enjoys best - playing football.

The 23-year-old was one of the few players to come out of last Sunday's drab goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland with any credit.

The friendly was so poor that ITV felt moved to apologise for broadcasting it.

Paul Scholes, on punditry duty for the channel, described the game as a "waste of space".

"We don't take any notice of that," said Wilshere, who was equally dismissive of the idea that England are not progressing enough under Roy Hodgson.

"We have improved," he said.

"We are getting better and better every game.

"Remember when Germany lost all their big players and they started again with (Mesut) Ozil, and (Sami) Khedira when they were in South Africa. They had a really good World Cup and now look at them.

"That's the way we want to go.

"We'll definitely be in a better position come this time next year."

Press Association

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