The amount of column inches and back pages devoted to Jack Wilshere’s “behaviour” away from the pitch is getting ridiculous. I realise that its somewhat ironic for me to say so given that this post is doing the same thing but it’s about time that someone said something. Wilshere’s public shaming after he was caught outside a nightclub with a cigarette in his hand has been overblown and needs to be reigned back in, especially by his club and its long serving manager. Wilshere was criticised by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who said he disagrees completely with his actions, and feared the player may have damaged his reputation as a role model. Granted players are looked upon by younger fans as icons and people to replicate but I’m sure they have seen much worse than a cigarette.
Modern day football is all geared around creating the best footballers technology and science can make. Hours spent in the gym to tone and bulk up physiques are complemented by strict diets and restrictions over what players can and cannot do. Cigarettes are frowned upon as they damage your health but what about excessive drinking or the other substances the players are taking behind closed doors. Very few have been caught but anyone who thinks that it is only a handful of players taking part is fooling themselves. Wilshere will know what he has to do to look after himself but that will also include distressing and relaxing. If that involves smoking a cigarette then surely that is his decision to bear? Think of it this way, would this have ever made the papers if the smoking bylaws had not been introduced, forcing the player outside into the public eye? Whilst I do not agree with smoking, mostly because of the effects it has long-term on your body, who are we to judge if this should be something that a 21-year-old can or cannot do?
The England midfielder’s equalising strike against West Brom reminded everyone what a quality player he is, as he superbly struck a neat lay down by Tomas Rosicky well past Boaz Myhill to square the match. His manager was pleased with the character he saw from his players, including Wilshere but failed to comment on the midfielder even when he was given the chance to do so. Wilshire himself played down the event, most likely because he has already had a dressing down once from his manager about his inappropriate behaviour. But given Wilshere’s performances for the club recently and the fact that Arsene Wenger has openly admitted that his teams are built entirely around the talented Englishman, can he afford to continue to crack the whip over trivial things like this? How long before Wilshere decides that he has had enough and requests a transfer? That would spell disaster for Arsenal, even with Mezit Ozil in the team, and would make Wenger’s position as the manager somewhat questionable. And what about England, who desperately need Wilshire to be playing the best football of his career this season as England head into next summer’s World Cup. It’s noticeable that Roy Hodgson jumped to the players aid when the “scandal” broke saying only that he wanted a fit Wilshere back for England and that the story would be long finished by the time Wilshere hooked up with Hodgson and the England squad for the forthcoming double-header with Montenegro and Poland.