The Young Guns Column: Expect A Wilshere Revival

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The English media loves to pick on and criticise certain players. Regular content will pick a player, raise concerns and criticise before moving onto the next. We’ve seen Tom Cleverly of Manchester United receive this treatment, whilst at Arsenal Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and many more have experienced the same situation. Now, it seems the current player is Jack Wilshere.

The 22-year-old Arsenal and England star was photographed this week in Las Vegas smoking a cigarette (again) and having champagne poured down his throat. Cue pandemonium, as the British press had a field day. After previously heralding Wilshere as the star of the future England, Wilshere is now raising concerns that he will flop- well, that’s what the tabloids would have you believe.

For a professional footballer, smoking is obviously not the ideal lifestyle choice for a player and Arsene Wenger is sure to have words with Wilshere, especially as it’s not the first time he’s offended. However, many players have smoked in the past and many continue to do so. It’s not the right role model image to give off but there’s only so much a manager can do.

The problem with Wilshere, for me, isn’t the fact that he smoked- it’s the fact he got caught doing it, again. He’s an international star and many kids look up to him, it’s not the best impression to give off. However, it’s not the big a deal in truth. He’s not doing class A drugs, or allegedly assaulting people in night clubs. The rape claims are non existent too- the press are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

All this comes after another campaign which was filled with injury troubles and a World Cup where Wilshere lost his place in the starting line-up. The claims state Wilshere is going backwards in his development, which is absurd. His development is fine, his progress is indeed concerning- but that’s what happens when a young player gets injured.

Wilshere showed his class last season with memorable moments including *that* goal against Norwich. Paul Scholes may tell you Wilshere is overhyped, as will many other media people- but he’s not. Wilshere once bossed the midfield against Barcelona, when the Catalan side were at the height of their European dominance. Hardly under performing.

Since then, injury problems have are their mark and the emergence of new signings and players in form mean Wilshere is having to fight for his place in the starting line-up- but why is this considered a bad thing? For a young player, consistent football week in, week out with no threat of losing their place is when problems start to emerge. The player will get complacent and may fly off the handles.

Wilshere will have to be focussed to earn his place amongst the starting eleven once again and competition for places is vital to help a young player develop and thrive. Should the injury problems be removed for his game this term, then Jack Wilshere can expect a similar revival to the one we witnessed this season with Aaron Ramsey.

Yes, Wilshere shouldn’t be smoking. No, occasional drinking is not a problem. Are we really so disillusioned that we believe players don’t have a life outside football?

Jack Wilshere is not at a ‘critical stage in his career’, his form this season will not ‘decide his future’ and he is definitely not failing. If Wilshere can avoid injury this season, then I am very much looking forward to serving humble pie to the members of the media in May 2015. Watch this space.

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