Jack Wilshere is no stranger to being in the newspapers for the wrong reasons, and this weekends fracas and brawl outside a nightclub at 2 am was swiftly broadcast to the world at large in very large headlines. The Arsenal midfielder has not kicked a ball in anger this season, but his manager Arsene Wenger has now judged him close to fitness and has scheduled him to play for the U21s this evening.
In yesterday’s pre-match conference, Wenger refused to take the headlines at face value and rushed to defend the England international. “I have spoken to him.” Le Prof said. “[The incident] looks to have been taken out of proportion a bit and of course we like to keep these matters internal. This is a completely private matter.
“For me it’s very difficult as well to speak about that because I don’t know really what happened. You know as well that he can be provoked. It’s not easy when you are well-known today to go out anywhere without creating some provocations. So I am a bit cautious and even if you are known you have the right to go out sometimes.
“There was no training session the next day, he had an off day, and you can accept that sometimes the players go out when they are free the next day or at the weekend. What is positive is that he’s worked very hard. The youth team look quite good so he’ll have a good test [on Friday] night.”
Wenger was then asked if he had any idea when Wilshere could rejoin the first team squad, but (as usual) he remained cautious. “I don’t know.” he continued. “We will have to see now. I am a bit cautious because of [his injury] history. Let’s not rush it too much and let’s see how he responds to the next game. He has a big part [to play] in the game on Friday night and hopefully he will come through well. I’m a bit cautious with that.”
So let us all hope that Our Jack can bring the focus on him back to the way that he plays football, and not how much he drinks and smokes when he is having an “off day”…..