Football

Wake up, Wilshere

Former skipper Adams warns midfielder his career could be over if he doesn't buck up

SLACK JACK: It’s time for Jack Wilshere (in yellow) to fulfil his potential.

Show more fire in your belly, or your career could be over.

Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams has launched a scathing attack on Jack Wilshere, slamming the midfielder for his lack of professionalism.

Adams led his side to a League and Cup double in 1998 and is unimpressed with the 22-year-old Wilshere, lambasting his work ethic

The England midfielder has struggled with injuries and has had his character called into question this summer when he was pictured smoking on holiday.

And Adams has accused the England international of letting his talent go to waste, insisting that manager Arsene Wenger wouldn't have had to bring in Mesut Oezil if Wilshere had been fulfilling his potential.

"He must show more hunger and professionalism. He's in danger of not fulfilling his potential and his career could be over in the blink of an eye," said Adams, in an interview with The Sun.

"If push came to shove, for a cup final or big match, Arsene would pick Oezil ahead of Jack.

"He should have taken it as a personal insult that Arsenal went out and signed Oezil when they already had the same talent at their disposal in him.

"He has to be more verbal, shake things up and show more fire in his belly."

Wilshere has made just two appearances for Arsenal in pre-season, following his return from England's World Cup campaign, but could be in line to start in the Community Shield against Manchester City tonight.

Meanwhile, another former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas believes that Wenger has been determined not to sell Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United after what happened with Robin van Persie.

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Joining from Ajax Amsterdam in 2009, Vermaelen proved an integral part of the Arsenal line-up during his first four campaigns at the club, but was restricted to just 14 league appearances last season, as Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker consistently partnered each other at centre back.

His departure from the Emirates Stadium is believed to be imminent. Wenger had revealed earlier this week that United were one of a number of clubs who had made a bid for the Belgian international, but added that he would prefer to sell his captain abroad, with Barcelona leading the race for his signature.

Nicholas believes that Wenger is refusing to sell Vermaelen to domestic rivals, as there's still some lingering resentment over United's poaching of his former skipper van Persie in 2012.

"We all know this transfer window can get a bit cat-and-mouse and everybody's got his own way of dealing with it," Nicholas told Sky Sports New Radio.

"Yeah, he's probably upset with United a little bit, but you've got to remember that Wenger has already lost van Persie, his captain, to them simply because they doubled his salary.

"Wenger's quoted today in fact saying that Arsenal can now afford to keep those types of players, so maybe there's a little bit of agitation.

"But if United really want Vermaelen, then they will come back in and make a bid, but my preference for Arsenal would be to move him abroad."

Nicholas may well get his wish, with Barcelona reportedly moving closer to a £15 million ($31.6m) deal for the 28-year-old, after the Catalan club's transfer negotiator, Raul Sanllehi, flew into London on Wednesday in an attempt to speed up negotiations. 
- Wire Services.