Jack Wilshere has revealed how Samir Nasri advised him not to go down a level again after his masterful performance against Barcelona in 2011.
The then 19-year-old ran the show from midfield despite coming up against the likes of Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
His performance for Arsenal that day helped the Gunners beat Pep Guardiola’s side 2-1 ahead of the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinal game at Camp Nou.
The Catalans beat Arsenal on aggregate before they would beat Manchester United in the final and win the competition.
However, Wilshere was man of the match in that first leg and he remembers Samir Nasri encouraging him to keep that level of performances in his next games days after.
He claimed that he didn’t exactly think he had a wonderful game until they named him as the man of the match and claimed that hearing Nasri talk about it was more important because he was a teammate.
Wilshere told Arsenal’s ‘In Lockdown’ podcast as quoted by the Metro: ‘To be honest, I didn’t even think I was [playing that well]
‘I thought I was doing alright. When we got to half-time, I had done a few good things in the first half but I felt like they had dominated.
‘They had a way of making you feel like you were running around in circles for no reason. They used to make these little passes in midfield and you didn’t know whether to press or to hold back and wait for them.
‘It wasn’t until after the game actually [that I realised how well I’d played]. It was Paul Akers, the kit man, who was like, “You just had Xavi and Iniesta in your pocket”. I said, “no chance” and he was like, “I’m telling you”. Then I got man of the match.
‘It’s difficult when you’re in a game to know how well you played and what people are thinking of games.
‘It wasn’t until a couple of times in the game where I had beaten a midfielder where I thought, “Okay, right, if I can beat that first man you get a little bit of time to get your head up and make a forward pass”. I remember thinking, “Right, just beat the first press and you’ll be alright”.’
Wilshere added: ‘Over the next few days I remember Nasri saying to me after the game, “You need to stay at this level now, you’ve just gone up a couple of levels, this needs to be your level, week in, week out”.
‘It’s alright everyone else saying it, but when it comes from your team-mates, the people who see you every day, it meant more.’