It seems that all the sniping and criticism that has been aimed at the Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere in recent times has not just been like water off a duck’s back. Wilshere has tried to keep it to himself and let the frustration show, but the recent comments from Jamie Redknapp seem to have been the last straw.
As revealed in a Daily Star report, the 22-year old feels that the recent comments by the former captain of Tottenham and current TV pundit were a cheap shot and, considering all the injury problems that Redknapp had in his career, a bit hypocritical and lacking in any real insight or professional respect.
Jack said, “I’ll take criticism – I know that’s part and parcel of football.
“But when it’s just reckless and aggressive, I don’t listen.
“With all due respect, if anything, I think Redknapp should have a little, if not respect, then sympathy and understanding.
“He was injured more than I was.
“It’s easy for someone to go on television and say, ‘he should be doing this, he should be doing that’.
“But, if you look back, he was injured just as much as I was. Maybe more than I was.
“And he was never injured at my age as well, and it does take a lot of mental strength (to come back).
“So to hear people go on TV and say, ‘he’s got to be doing this or that,’ I don’t need that.
“I listen to people like the boss here (Roy Hodgson), Gary Neville, people who talk a lot of sense and can help me with my game.”
“The criticism doesn’t hurt me as much, it probably disappoints me a little bit more,” he added.
“It’s easy to go on TV and say, ‘he’s got to do this or that,’ and ,’if he’s not fit he’s not in the starting lineup and he’s got to get fitter’.
“That’s the easy way out. I heard what Robbie Savage said recently and that was the first ex-player to give me constructive criticism. I respected that.”
The problem for Wilshere is, however, that it is easy for pundits to criticise him on TV and in the papers. The Arsenal youngster has become an easy target and the pictures of him smoking have certainly not helped. Plenty of people have jumped on the bandwagon and will probably continue to do so until Jack proves them wrong once and for all, so to hear him talking about concentrating on enjoying his football again and working with a psychologist in order to get his Arsenal and England careers firmly back on track, can only be good.
He went on, “It is a big season for me, not just for my country but my club as well.
“I’ve had a good pre-season, the first time in three or four years where I’ve managed to do every single session.
“I’ve stayed away from injury, trained here every day. I’m fit and in the gym.
“There’s no point in me saying, ‘I’ve got another year to develop’. I’m 22 now.
“Look at Germany. Mario Gotze won the World Cup for Germany and he’s 22, he’s my age. It is time to deliver.
“I would’ve liked to have played over 250 games and if I’d been injury-free I would’ve.
“I played 60 games in my first year and then missed a year-and-a-bit.
“Now I’ve learned to enjoy my football. Every time I’m on the pitch I just enjoy it.
“I’m not as aggressive, not as angry. If something goes wrong, a couple of years ago I would have gone to the physio and said, ‘look, my ankle’s not right’.
“I’ve grown up. I realise things aren’t going to go my way every week.
“I’ve worked with a psychologist at Arsenal and he’s really helped me.
“He’s taught me that, if your head’s not right, it can affect other parts of your body.
“So get that right and enjoy your football, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Wilshere sounds like he is much more mature and has really got his head around what he needs to do now. Let’s just hope those pesky injuries stay away.